Bernard Niederbrach, charged with first-degree battery, was acquitted at his pre-trial hearing in Fulton County May 13 following a mental evaluation which determined he did not appreciate the criminality of his conduct.
Niederbrach was transported after his court hearing to the Department of Human Services in Little Rock for further evaluation and treatment.
The first-degree battery charges stemmed from an incident July 15, 2002, after witnesses observed him threatening to kill his mother, Doris Niederbrach, 61, in front of the Westside Apartments in Salem.
Witnesses observed Niederbrach leaving the area a short time after the altercation. The witnesses went to the lobby to check on Mrs. Niederbrach and found her on the lobby floor with serious injuries to her face after her son struck her. She was flown to St. John's Regional Health Center in Missouri where she underwent reconstructive surgery to her face.
Niederbrach was arrested by authorities at the Fairview Cemetery located six miles south of Salem later that night. Officers reported that Niederbrach was naked and lying beside the grave of a family member.
After he was admitted for a forensic evaluation in February he was diagnosed with a psychotic disorder and borderline intellectual functioning.
During the evaluation Niederbrach told psychologists he had stopped taking his prescribed psychotropic medication several months before the crimes occurred. The report said Niederbrach believed he was not in his right mind and that he had been hearing voices and seeing religious visions prior to committing the crime.
Circuit Judge John Dan Kemp received a letter April 29 from the psychologists who treated Niederbrach. The letter said the patient experienced visual hallucinations. Officers described him as wild and agitated. When authorities tried to subdue him he was making comments about the "rapture" and "666," suggesting that his thinking was delusional, the letter concluded.