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McFarland patient formally charged in incident at mental health center

The State Journal-Register - 9/24/2020

Sep. 24--A patient of the McFarland Mental Health Center has been formally charged in an incident in which he allegedly strangled another female patient.

Gary B. Schmitt, 56, formerly of Troy, Ill., is in custody of the Sangamon County Jail for aggravated criminal sexual assault, two counts of aggravated battery and unlawful restraint.

Schmitt's bond was set at $100,000 at his arraignment Thursday.

Illinois State Police were called to the facility on Friday after a female patient was found unresponsive in her room.

According to the criminal complaint, Schmitt took "a substantial step towards committing an act of sexual penetration against (the woman)."

Schmitt allegedly strangled the woman in her room from behind until she passed out. Schmitt was seen exiting the woman's room. McFarland staff members found her on the floor.

The victim was treated at a hospital for her injuries.

The Effingham native has been a resident of McFarland since 2013.

Schmitt was found not guilty by reason of insanity in October 2012 for the 2010 murder of his father, Jack Schmitt, in Effingham and the 2011 attempted murders of Jodie Harris and her daughter, Lauran Huntington, in Edgewood.

In October, an Effingham County judge denied a request for Schmitt's conditional release. A similar request had been denied in 2017.

Illinois Department of Human Services operates McFarland.

Contact Steven Spearie at 622-1788, or


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