WEST POINT -- Each day inside the Clay County jail, Steven Jessie Harris helps pass out food trays.
With the exception of a mental examination at the Mississippi State Hospital at Whitfield, he has been here every day since his Oct. 8, 2005, arrest.
He remains charged with murder and other violent offenses, yet he has never gone on trial.
"To keep a mentally ill person in jail for 11 years is a disgrace," said Dr. E. Fuller Torrey, founder of the nonprofit Treatment Advocacy Center in Arlington, Virginia. "It is exactly what we did in the 1830s and 1840s before we built state mental hospitals to be more humane."
Diagnosed with schizophrenia, Harris remains in legal limbo. He has no lawyer, a victim of a criminal justice system ill-designed to deal with those suffering from mental illness.
District Attorney Scott Colom, who took office this year, acknowledged that Harris' case had long ago "fallen through the cracks."
He said he is moving to have Harris transferred to a Mississippi mental institution.
Torrey said jails were never meant to be mental hospitals.
Yet that is what they have become. The nation's largest jails are now the nation's largest mental health facilities.
In the Hinds County Detention Center, about two-thirds of those behind bars take anti-psychotic medication.
"Mentally ill individuals belong in mental hospitals," Torrey said. "If they have committed a crime, they belong in a forensic mental hospital."
But in Mississippi, finding empty beds for those suffering from mental illness -- who also happen to be violent -- is difficult.
Since fiscal 2008, lawmakers have slashed the state's psychiatric facilities $25 million. In the past year alone, lawmakers have cut mental health funding by more than $8 million.
(For their part, lawmakers insist their changes will bring $5.1 million in savings. Mental health officials put the actual savings at half that.)
State mental health officials have requested, but have yet to receive, funding to expand Mississippi's 35-bed forensic facility to 60.
Clay County Sheriff Eddie Scott said the cost of handling and medicating those suffering from mental illness is now falling on counties.
Massive cuts in mental health since 2008 have caused the number of psychiatric beds to shrink from nearly 2,000 to fewer than 1,500.
With so few psychiatric beds, Mississippi's mental institutions have become revolving doors, the sheriff said. "You carry them there, and before you can get the car cut off good, you have to go back and pick them up."
Attorney General Jim Hood has criticized the cuts, saying, "Just as bridges will begin to collapse in our state, mental health is a public safety crisis that is primed to explode."
Shooting spree begins
According to West Point police, Harris did the following on Oct. 8, 2005:
He shot his 72-year-old father, Malichi Randle, in West Point before strolling to the Sonic Drive-In with a .22 rifle in hand. He opened fire on the cars passing on U.S. 45 Alternate.
He then tried to carjack several cars before stabbing Mississippi State University student Joshua Funderberg and ordering Kelvis Collins out of his 1992 Honda Accord but forcing his passenger, Monica Chandler, to stay.
Harris squealed out of the parking lot and swerved to avoid vehicles as he sped down the highway, the police in hot pursuit.
When he wrecked the Honda, he dashed across the highway, firing at officers and wounding three of them -- Jessie Anderson and Kendrick Poole with the West Point Police Department and Shane Lamkin with the Tri-County Narcotics Task Force.
Harris tried to take another hostage, Shalise Ewing, who had pulled her 2002 Lincoln over when she saw police.
He shot at officers again and was finally hit by their gunfire, taking bullets in a shoulder and in his left side.
After his arrest, police said they found his .38 revolver inside Ewing's car.
A grand jury indicted Harris on one count of murder, three counts of aggravated assault on law enforcement officers, two counts of armed robbery, two counts of kidnapping, two counts of aggravated assault and shooting into an automobile.
Mental illness diagnosed
On July 9, 2007, doctors at Whitfield admitted Harris for a mental evaluation, concluding he "was demonstrating symptoms of a major mental illness," schizophrenia.
They wrote that Harris believed his dead father was still alive and embraced a paranoid delusion that law enforcement was playing a "game" on him.
"Mr. Harris appears to exhibit substantial deficits in his capacity to appreciate the seriousness of his legal situation, to consult with defense counsel in a reasonable manner, to make rational legal decisions, and to attend to the proceedings in a meaningful way," they wrote.
In a final report on April 13, 2008, doctors concluded Harris was incompetent to waive his constitutional rights or to stand trial.
While Harris had shown improvement, he "continues to demonstrate significant deficits in his capacity to consult with his attorney with a reasonable degree of rational understanding in his preparation of his defense and in his rational understanding of the nature and object of the legal proceedings against him," they wrote.
Circuit Judge Lee J. Howard continued Harris' trial twice in 2009 and again in 2010.
After Whitfield doctors reiterated their conclusions in a hearing, Howard concluded Oct. 20, 2010, that Harris wasn't competent to stand trial and removed the case to Chancery Court.
That same day, a Clay County judge ruled the court could not hear the case because of Harris' pending charges.
In 2012, Pearson Liddell, the fourth different public defender to represent Harris, telephoned then-District Attorney Forrest Allgood, asking about his client still being in jail.
After talking to the sheriff, Allgood concluded Harris must be mentally competent now because he was taking his medication and "interacting well with the other inmates and staff, something he formerly would not do."
A nurse working in the jail submitted an Oct. 6, 2012, report in which she said Harris, who had been refusing medication, had been "very loud and belligerent," verbally abusing staff and threatening bodily harm.
Since receiving injections, he has been "laughing and joking" with the staff and showed no behavior problems, the nurse wrote.
Allgood asked for a hearing on the matter, seeking a re-evaluation of Harris' competency.
No evaluation happened, and neither did a trial.
The only paperwork since has come from Harris.
On June 23, 2014, he penned a letter to the "U.S. General," saying, "I been in jail ... after I stormed the city of West Point with my guns. I need your help because it was war crimes, and I can't get a fair trial ... Please let me go with some funding."
The sheriff said Harris is behaving now, but his medication must occasionally be adjusted.
"He attacked a few guards when his medication stopping working," he said.
And the county of fewer than 21,000 residents bears the cost of that medication, which the sheriff says adds up to several thousand dollars annually,
Liddell, who represented Harris in the past, has not officially withdrawn, the sheriff said. "Until somebody withdraws, it's dead in the water on my part."
Reached by email, Liddell said he retired two years ago.
Colom told The Clarion-Ledger that Harris can still be sent to a state mental institution and that the 2010 Chancery Court decision was incorrect.
Harris' twin brother, Steven Jeffrey, said he believes someone else killed their father and that the death triggered his brother's psychotic break.
He said it's "traumatizing" for his brother to be locked up like this.
"According to the U.S. Constitution, an individual is entitled to a right to a fair trial, a right to a fast and speedy trial," he said.
Under Mississippi's 270-day rule, a defendant is entitled to a trial within 270 days of his or her arraignment on indictment unless the defense agrees to delays.
Since his arraignment, Harris has been waiting 3,693 days, which may be close to a Mississippi, or even a national, record.
His brother said his twin has suffered from both paranoid schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
"He's not competent to stand trial," he said. "I don't understand why the state of Mississippi has allowed my brother to sit in a jail without a trial, without any due process, for 11 years."
This story was initially reported by the Jackson Clarion-Ledger.