DECATUR — A Decatur man who climbed into a random stranger’s car and attacked him was sentenced to 24 months' probation and ordered to undergo a mental health exam after pleading guilty to a charge of aggravated battery.
Tyler J. Kirkwood, 32, appeared in Macon County Circuit Court last week and also was ordered to “complete any recommended treatment, including his current regimen of all prescribed medication,” according to court records.
Kirkwood was arrested the night of Dec. 20 after a startled motorist told police he was about to drive away from downtown Decatur when Kirkwood, wearing a surgical mask, climbed into the back seat of his car, according to a sworn police affidavit.
An altercation followed in which Kirkwood punched the 58-year-old driver in the head twice, leaving him with a bleeding nose, the affidavit said. He fled after the driver fought back.
Kirkwood’s public defender, David Ellison, had made a motion asking for a mental health evaluation, and Kirkwood was ruled unfit to stand trial by Judge Phoebe Bowers in February, and underwent treatment. By June, his mental condition had improved, and he was back the custody of the Macon County Jail.
Commenting on the case Tuesday evening, Macon County State’s Attorney Jay Scott said his office had in mind the wishes of Kirkwood’s victim in seeking a sentence without prison time.
“And he was the one who told us ‘Hey, this guy needs help,’” Scott said. “The victim said he would rather see him get some help then be locked up.”