Mother of man accused of bomb threat blames 'failing system,' wants change in mental health programs

Mother of man accused of bomb threat blames 'failing system,' wants change in mental health programs

NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - A Little River man who told law enforcement there was a bomb in the White House and at a location in Charleston was arrested again in February after removing a GPS tracking device and fleeing his home.

He was later found at a home of a friend. According to reports, the home contained a sawed-off shotgun and a hand-made explosive device.

WMBF first meant to present this story back in February, but it was cut short after Justin McCoy was arrested again just days before the story was meant to air. Then, it was back to the drawing board as the suspect went back to the J. Reuben Long Detention Center.

This isn't the first time McCoy has been accused of making such threats.

Amy Maxwell, McCoy's mother, said her son had been in and out of trouble since he was 18.

"He had in the past, when he was having another psychotic episode, went to Walmart and called from his cellphone standing outside of Walmart and said there was a bomb in Walmart," she said.

According to Maxwell, her son has suffered from mental illness all his life.

"He had spinal meningitis when he was an infant," she said. "By the time he was 12, we had him in a lot of in-patient treatment programs to help him through adolescence because of his opposition defiant disorder and his bipolar schizophrenia."

Now 25 years old, Maxwell said her son's life is a constant cycle.

"His IQ is 74, so he ends up off track and then he stops taking medication, and then eventually he goes into what's called psychosis," she said. "He hears voices and so he does these impulsive things because of the voices in his head. You know, maybe we all hear. We might hear something that says, 'Oh man, I really want that ice cream or McDonald's, and then we say, 'No, we're not going to.' But he doesn't have that other voice that says don't do that."

For just over a year, Horry County Mental Health Court has offered a way out to those with mental illnesses who commit crimes.

"It's a diversion program, so we can work with those who have committed crimes that have mental health issues to help them be more productive in society, and after a period of time if they follow all the rules and regulations and they graduate, then the charges are dropped against them," said Judge Aaron Butler, who serves on the mental health court.

Maxwell said the original charge of calling in the bomb threat could still make it to the Horry County Mental Health Court, which means it could potentially be dropped.

However, the most recent charge is not eligible and could hold a sentence of up to 15 years. Maxwell said her son was offered a plea deal that would reduce the sentence to five years, but they won't be taking it.

"He suffers from this illness that has taken over his life and our life, and we just want the system to change," Maxwell said. "We want there to be something for them, for Justin, for everyone like Justin."

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