Mother: McCoy Refused Medication to Control Mental Illness

The mother of a man charged in a series of Columbus-area highway shootings says she wasn’t able to get her son to take medication for his paranoid schizophrenia.

Ardith McCoy says her son, Charles McCoy Junior, would hide the pills in his cheek, and she would find them later under his mattress, under soda can tabs or at the bottom of drinking glasses.

The defense began presenting its case today in the trial of the man accused of being the Columbus area’s highway shooter.

Attorneys representing 29-year-old Charles McCoy concede he’s the man who shot at moving vehicles, houses and a school over a five-month period, but say he didn’t understand right from wrong because of untreated paranoid schizophrenia.

In his opening statement, defense Attorney Mark Collins told the jurors that McCoy did not have the ability to make proper choices because of his mental illness. Collins said, “The disease chose McCoy. It cannot be predicted. It cannot be cured. It can only be treated.”

McCoy’s lawyers have conceded that he is responsible for the shootings, one of which killed a 62-year-old woman while she rode in a friend’s car on Interstate 270. But McCoy has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.

If convicted of aggravated murder in Gail Knisley’s death, McCoy could get the death penalty.

Ardith McCoy says she felt “utter grief” for the Knisleys and for her own family when authorities matched the bullets to her son’s gun.