Cherokee, Iowa — A Mason City man who was found not guilty of murder by reason of insanity in 2014 will be moved from the Mental Health Institute or “MHI” in Cherokee to a group home in Primghar.
According to court records, on July 18, 2013, the mother of now 44-year-old Thomas Barlas Jr. of Mason City returned home to find Barlas covered in blood. Records say he claimed to be “Jesus Christ” and claimed to have “killed Satan.” Barlas’s mother found her husband dead in the bedroom. About a year later, judge Gregg Rosenbladt ruled that Barlas had suffered a psychotic episode that night and could not tell right from wrong.
The judge ruled that Barlas should receive an evaluation from the Iowa Medical and Classification Center in Oakdale. That evaluation found that Barlas continued to be mentally ill and ordered him to be placed at the Cherokee institution.
Since then, according to court records, the court continued to receive periodic reports from the MHI in Cherokee. In a September, 2015 report, staff there recommended a change in placement to the Pride Group residential care facility in Primghar.
The report says that Barlas still suffers from Schizoaffective Disorder…Severe with Psychosis, but it is in remission. Staff say that the illness has been stabilized on medication, which they say he has been compliant in taking, as prescribed. They say it is their opinion that conditional release will not present an undue risk to public safety.
The order says that Barlas will be monitored and will not be allowed to leave the facility unless accompanied by staff after approval by the treatment team and the Court.