By Kim Stagliano
This story from Portage County, Ohio has gained national attention. 18 year old Sky Walker, who has autism, has been charged with murdering his mother, Kent State professor Gertrude "Trudy" Steuernagel. At his arraignment, he was spitting. And so he was put into a restraint chair and given a helmet with what appears to be netting on it. (Read about the arraignment at E-Portage.US.)
(Image Copyright, E-Portage.US. Used With Permission.)
What does the future hold for our young adults and adults with autism? How long can we protect our babies? And will we need to protect ourselves from them? For those who say, "No treatment is necessary." I invite you to look at Sky Walker in his restraints. And his mother's gravestone.
A local Mom describes the story:
When Kent State Professor Gertrude “Trudy’ Steuernagel did not show up for one of her morning classes her students and colleagues became concerned. They contacted the Portage County police department to check on her. Trudy was found badly beaten on the kitchen floor of her home and her 18 year old son was found in the basement. Ms. Steuernagel sadly died of her injuries this past Friday.
Sky Walker, Trudy’s only son, has been charged in connection with her beating. Sky was diagnosed with autism when he was three years old. Many colleagues and friends of Prof. Steuernagel have spoken to the media about Trudy’s love and devotion to her son, and the special bond they possessed. When Sky was 16 Trudy wrote a beautiful essay about her son Sky found on a Kent State website. (HERE)
Sky was the only child of Ms. Steuernagel and her husband Scott Walker. A close friend of Trudy’s Molly Merryman revealed in a recent interview (http://www.recordpub.com/news/article/4522015 ) that Sky and his father have had no contact in recent years.
Sky is now facing another battle in what seems to just add to a life filled with unfair and extremely difficult battles. Sky now is caught up in the court system with the possibility of facing murder charges and without his biggest, possibly only advocate, his mother by his side.
Sky was arraigned yesterday in Portage County Court, click for details of the arraignment (HERE). Judge Joseph Kainrad ordered a competency hearing and IQ testing to be completed on Sky. Those results could take up to 30 days. The case is now being referred back to the Grand jury upgrading the charge from attempted murder to murder since Ms. Steuernagel died from her injuries. Sky’s attorneys argued that Sky was not able to enter a plea because of his “current mental state now and in the future”.
Currently, Sky is being held in the Portage County jail in lieu of a 2 million dollar bond.