Teen charged with father's murder has history of mental illness, abuse


by Adam Walser


Posted on December 21, 2009 at 5:59 PM

Updated Monday, Dec 21 at 7:10 PM

There’s new information about Dewayne Bryant, who was arraigned in Jefferson County Circuit Court Monday for the murder of his father.

Court documents WHAS11 obtained indicate that Bryant's father abused him and that he had a history of mental illness that was left untreated.

Dewayne Bryant was 14 when he was arrested for allegedly stabbing his father in the chest while he slept, dragging his body to a bathtub, then setting it on fire.

Police say Dewayne went in and out of the apartment for about three days while his dad's burned corpse remained inside.

The boy's lawyer says his client is a troubled young man who the system failed, not someone who should face trial as an adult.

Monday was his official arraignment,  but police told us back in April that then 14-year-old Dewayne Bryant stabbed his father Jermaine to death, attempted to burn his body, then remained alone in the apartment with his corpse for three days.

A juvenile court order gave us some clues as to a possible motive.

“He has some mental illness and there's been some issues with respect to that,” said Dewayne’s attorney Carlos Wood.

In the order, experts are quoted as saying Dewayne suffers from Conduct Disorder and Psychotic Disorder,  mental illnesses for which Dewayne was hospitalized at least four times in the past.

“There's a lot of people who care about him, but unfortunately, he's down here in Louisville. He's alone. His family is really from Cincinnati,” said Wood.

The order says Dewayne's mother sent him to live with his father due to fear for her safety, since he had, on multiple occasions, threatened to kill his mother.

His father allegedly did not obtain any treatment for the child, but the court found that the child suffered physical and verbal abuse from his father.

As we first told you shortly after the murder, Jermaine Bryant had a long history of arrests for domestic violence.

Multiple emergency protection orders were issued against him by multiple victims, alleging Jermaine Bryant threatened to kill a former girlfriend and even smashed a television set with a hammer.

While Wood thinks his client's case should have remained in juvenile court, the judge said the transfer is in the best interest of both the community and the child.

“it's very sad. It's gonna be very difficult for him, for his family to get through this entire process. But we look forward to presenting our case in court,” said Wood.

Dewayne Bryant remains at the Jefferson County Youth Detention Center under a $150,000 cash bond.

He'll have another court appearance on January 19th, at which time his attorney will ask for the case to be transferred back to juvenile court, which is why the judge didn't want us to show his face.

WHAS11's Adam Walser spoke to Dewayne's mother in Cincinnati Monday, but she didn't want to comment on the case.