A Philadelphia man has been found not guilty by reason of insanity of criminal charges related to a high-speed chase through parts of Lancaster County that ended with police subduing him with a Taser nearly two years ago.
Boyette L. Graham Jr., 41, of Philadelphia, was cleared of all charges on Feb. 10 by Lancaster County Judge Howard F. Knisely during a non-jury trial.
Knisely determined that Graham met the criteria for insanity, which is a legal standard, not a specific medical diagnosis.
A person can be found legally insane when their illness prevents them from either understanding what they were doing when they committed a crime or that they did not know what they were doing was wrong.
Graham on Wednesday said he doesn’t recall what happened and isn’t sure what caused his behavior on May 6, 2019.
After his arrest, he told police inanimate objects had been talking to him and that he thought "fake police" were following him, according to court documents.
“It had to do with mental health, but we don’t know if it was attributed to medication I was taking,” Graham said. Nor could anyone say if it was related to kidney problems he was experiencing, or a combination of that and medication, he said.
“When I was arrested, I was taken to Lancaster General Hospital and treated for kidney failure for three days,” he said.
Graham said he is fine now and has not had any subsequent problems. He also acknowledged the situation could have turned out differently.
“With all that’s going on in the news and stuff ... with me being an African American, I was very happy with the judge and I was very happy with the prosecutor, Mark Fetterman,” he said. “The police, too, they were very understanding. They were just doing their job, protecting the community.”
The ordeal began when East Lampeter Township police tried to stop Graham about 3:35 a.m. for driving 65 mph in a zone of Lincoln Highway marked 45 mph.
Graham had left a hospital in York County about 1 a.m., but said Wednesday that he had no recollection of that, either. At the time, he was living in Coatesville and worked as a traveling nurse.
The chase went east into Chester County, then west back into Lancaster County with Graham ultimately exiting Route 283 and driving into Landisville, where he crashed. He then tried to hit officers with a board before officers subdued him with a Taser, according to court documents.
Graham had been charged with aggravated and simple assault, fleeing and eluding police and related offenses.