Mental illness blamed for Beatty Jr.'s legal woes

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Beatty Jr. back in court.

Bryan Beatty Jr. has been in and out of jail and prison for almost five years.

On Monday, he appeared in court, and his parents said they believe mental illness may be the root of his problems.

Beatty Jr. had just finished serving prison time for armed robbery and assault when he was arrested in Apex along with three others last year after a man was robbed at a convenience store.

Police said the man was buying cell phones from a Craigslist ad and had his children in the car.

Beatty was driving the getaway car but didn't see the robbery. His attorneys said he didn't know what had happened when he gave a ride to the man police said was the gunman.

PREVIOUS: ROBBERY SUSPECTS CAPTURED NEAR APEX HIGH SCHOOL

Beatty's mother and his father, Bryan Beatty Sr., - the former state secretary of crime control and public safety - listened as the prosecutor pointed out that he has already served prison time for robbery and assault charges.

But he agreed to a plea deal that allowed Beatty Jr. credit for six of the nine months he's been behind bars since the robbery.

He has apparently already satisfied state prison officials by serving six weeks for violating parole.

Beatty's other attorney - former Gov. Mike Easley, who put Beatty's father in his Cabinet - explained in detail the history of Beatty Jr.'s mental problems.

He said Beatty has been diagnosed with schizophrenia and being in prison can make that worse. Without treatment, when he gets out, he's in as bad of shape, if not worse, the argument went.

The judge sentenced Beatty to another six months of house arrest and also ordered Beatty to get constant psychiatric care and take medication.

The prosecutor acknowledged Beatty's mental issues, but remains concerned.

"We're very much aware of the good family support that he has. But that family support has been there all along and we keep getting this record. He's going to have to start taking actions on his own and want on his own to fix this."

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