School bus aide charged with stabbing Watson Institute employee likely won’t face trial
A school bus aide charged with stabbing an employee of the Watson Institute and holding a student hostage will likely never face trial.
The day of the crime is hard for the victim to forget.
“I was just thinking is anyone else going to get hurt, is she going to get in the building is my student hurt is he going to get killed,” said Allison Wolbert, a speech pathologist at The Watson Institute.
All thoughts running through Wolbert’s mind after she was stabbed twice outside the school on Nov. 17, 2021 and a student was taken hostage.
Police said the woman who committed those crimes was a bus aide nurse, Rochelle Pinkle.
“The defenses case was she was in the moment mentally unstable, clinically insane, legally insane because of medication issues,” Wolbert said.
According to Pinkle’s attorney Mike Santicola, doctors on both the state and defense side have determined Pinkle is not competent to stand trial or legally insane.
“Generally speaking, if a client is deemed not competent then yes, the case is nolle prosequi or withdrawn it could happen. In my experience it is rare,” said Attorney Blaine Jones who isn’t associated with the case.
Now this case will be closed, and charges dismissed without Wolbert ever getting her day in court.
“For me to hear this is a mental health need that is in some way some closure but I don’t think it’s enough because obviously in this case the person who needs help the most is not receiving what she needs,” Wolbert said.
While Santicola said his client is receiving her own mental health treatment, according to online records, Pinkle still holds her nursing license.
“What happens if you know a family who hires somebody with no legal action against her it might not even show up on a background check,” Wolbert said.
The courts don’t require any follow-up for treatment or medication when a case is dismissed.
“Unfortunately, if a case just goes away then there aren’t any checks and balances on this person with mental health issues,” Jones said.
Wolbert worries about the accountability, who is to stop this from happening again. She feels it’s a flaw in the system and wishes there were outpatient check ins moving forward for Pinkle.
“What if the medication stops working or she decides she doesn’t need it and this could happen again. I don’t see this as a win lose. Between her and I and I don’t know her but we are both losing in this situation,” Wolbert said.
Santicola told Channel 11 the case will formally be dismissed on Monday. We asked him who will hold Pinkle accountable when it comes to treatment, and he said her family is on it.
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