Man accused in Tallahassee Books-A-Million stabbing sent to state mental hospital

John McFarland was found incompetent to stand trial after allegedly stabbing a man in June 2022
Tallahassee Books-A-Million stabbing suspect found incompetent to stand trial
Published: Aug. 17, 2023 at 9:20 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 17, 2023 at 9:53 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - A man accused of escaping from a Tallahassee psychiatric center and stabbing a man at the Tallahassee Books-A-Million last summer has just been found incompetent to stand trial.

John McFarland, 40, is facing attempted murder charges for the attack in June 2022. Arrest papers say McFarland walked into the Books-A-Million on Thomasville Road, walked up behind an older man seated in the cafe there and repeatedly stabbed him in the head and neck.

This week, Circuit Judge Jonathan Sjostrom signed an order finding McFarland “incompetent to proceed” and committed him to the Department of Children and Families for treatment at the state mental hospital.

The order indicates “there is a substantial likelihood that in the near future, the defendant will inflict serious bodily harm” on himself or another person and there are “no available, less restrictive alternatives.”

McFarland had been reported missing from the Apalachee Center on Capital Circle NE prior to the stabbing.

The August 15 court order committing McFarland for treatment followed a psychological evaluation and indicated he was incompetent to proceed with a trial and any pretrial hearings.

A check of court records in Duval County, Fla. shows McFarland has a history of mental illness and violence dating back more than 20 years, including a stabbing at a Jacksonville Walmart. McFarland was found “mentally unable to stand trial” in all but one case, court records show, and was found not guilty by reason of insanity in the other.

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