Defendant Accused of Kidnapping, Murdering Dallas 4-year-Old Found Incompetent to Stand Trial

Darriynn Brown(Dallas County Sheriff's Department)
Dallas County Sheriff's Department

A Texas judge has found Darriynn Brown, 19, the man accused of kidnapping four-year-old Dallas boy Cash Gernon and stabbing him to death last May, incompetent to stand trial.

Dallas County Magistrate Judge Farrel Chapman’s decision Friday came after doctors for both the defense and the prosecution deemed Brown incompetent, the Dallas Morning News reports. Chapman ordered that Brown receive treatment at the North Texas State Hospital System.

If Brown, charged with capital murder, regains competency, he would stand trial for his alleged crimes. Heath Harris, Brown’s attorney, asserts that his client is schizophrenic and suffers from additional mental disorders.

According to the Dallas Morning News:

In Texas, defendants must be able to understand court proceedings and help with their own defense. Competency to stand trial is different from sanity at the time of the crime, although Brown’s lawyer is mounting an insanity defense. An insanity defense means that attorneys admit their clients committed a crime but did not know right from wrong at the time.

On May 15 of last year, Gernon was discovered dead in the 7500 block of Saddleridge Drive in Dallas. The location of the four-year-old’s body was roughly eight blocks from where he and his twin brother were staying with Monica Sherrod in the Mountain Creek neighborhood, according to the Dallas Morning News:

Surveillance video from Cash’s bedroom showed a man standing over him and his twin brother as they slept about 5 a.m., then picking up Cash and walking out of the room. The man returned about 7:30 a.m. and lifted the blanket covering the other boy but left empty-handed after walking around the room.

Monica Sherrod reported Cash missing about five hours after he was taken from the home and identified the man in the footage as Brown, according to an arrest-warrant affidavit. Sherrod had dated the twins’ father and was caring for them at her family’s home on Florina Parkway.

Hours later, Brown was arrested.

Authorities assert that after Brown snatched the boy from his bed and took him to a trail in the area where he stabbed the four-year-old to death with an unknown object. They further allege that he subsequently placed Gernon’s body in the middle of Saddleridge Drive, the Dallas Morning News reports.

Authorities say that Sherrod and her teenage son both knew the defendant.

The defense argues that Brown was in a trance when he allegedly carried out the crimes, KDFW reports.

He was first charged with kidnapping and theft in connection to the killing of Gernon, according to WFAA, but after his sweatshirt, socks, and sunglasses tested positive for the child’s blood, he was charged with capital murder on June 9.

Gernon’s twin is now in the care of his mother, who police say was looking for her him, the Dallas Morning News reports. Trevor Gernon, the twins’ father, reportedly missed a court appearance in Harris County in March and left the twins in Sherrod’s care at her family home. He was placed into a residential rehab program following an arrest in June.

Police filed additional charges, including burglary and injury charges against Brown, regarding a prior alleged incident at another Florina Parkway home that occurred on February 8, 2021, per the Dallas Morning News.

CBS 11 reported:

According to the affidavit for the burglary charge, Brown entered a man’s home and started going through all the rooms and closets. Picking up a kitchen knife, the man demanded that he leave. The homeowner managed to get Brown out of his home, but he came back and started kicking and damaging an interior door between the garage and home. The homeowner opened the door and Brown reentered, punching the man in the forehead, according to the affidavit.

It was then that Brown allegedly walked into the living room where the man’s 2-year-old granddaughter was sleeping. He grabbed her and started carrying her toward the laundry room at the back of the house near the garage door. Her grandfather demanded Brown let her go, but he continued with the child toward the door. Fearing Brown would take the child from his home, the man physically removed her from his grasp, according to the affidavit. The grandfather put the girl back on the couch then confronted Brown in the kitchen. Brown allegedly punched the man in the face then fled out the back door.

“The grandfather then placed the girl back on the couch and confronted the suspect in the kitchen. Brown allegedly hit the man in his face, then exited through the back door,” Breitbart News reported.

The homeowner did not press charges at the time, but on May 18 when Child Abuse Detectives spoke with him regarding the February incident, he wanted to press charges against Brown.

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