The family of a 9-year-old boy slain Sunday morning in Discovery Bay was unaware that a family friend staying at their house overnight was showing signs of mental illness, their lawyer said Thursday.
William Shultz, who was often called “Billy,” was best friends with the older brother of Jordan Almgren, attorney Michael Verna said.
Verna said the two had been friends for six years and the relationship between Shultz and Jordan’s older brother was a strong one.
But he said the family had no indication that Shultz was suffering from mental illness.
“The Almgren family had no idea that he had this history of mental illness…They had no idea he had seen a psychiatrist that day.”
Shultz decided to stay with the Almgren family Saturday night after having a fight with his mother, Verna said, adding that he didn’t know whether the two mothers communicated with each other regularly.
Shultz’s family had requested assistance from Contra Costa County sheriff’s deputies to evaluate their son’s mental health status earlier Saturday, according to sheriff’s spokesman Jimmy Lee.
The deputies determined he did not meet the criteria to be placed on an involuntary mental health hold.
Lee said Shultz voluntarily agreed to be taken to the hospital, but was later released.
Deputies responded at 10:09 a.m. Sunday to the Almgren home on a report of a stabbing.
Jordan’s family had already taken him to the hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.
Shultz was arrested later that day without incident.
He appeared in court on Wednesday for the first time but has yet to enter a plea for the murder, lying in wait enhancement and burglary charges that he’s facing.
Shultz’s attorney Robin Lipetzky said Wednesday that the Shultz family had tried many times in the weeks and months before the stabbing to seek help for their son, including on Saturday.
Verna would not say whether the Almgren family was planning any additional legal action.
The Almgren family is planning to read a statement about the case at noon Thursday at their home in Discovery Bay, according to Verna.