A Virginia man who has Asperger’s syndrome spent four days in jail after being indicted for downloading child pornography, but his grandparents told News4 he didn’t know what he was doing was wrong.
The time 27-year-old Mikey Dejerolme spent in jail in Stafford County left him shell-shocked, his grandparents said, and he emerged acting like a 6-year-old.
“About the third night there, he did not think he was going to make it out,” said his grandmother, Nina Dejerolme. ”He's not very forthcoming with emotion but that night he told me goodbye and I love you.”
Now he often won’t let go of his grandmother’s hand.
Nina and Tony Dejerolme, who raised Mikey Dejerolme since he was a toddler, think charges should not have been filed.
In April 2015, deputies knocked on their door. They found child porn on Mikey Dejerolme’s computer.
His grandparents said they’ve determined he followed a peer-to-peer link while downloading music. While he is intellectually bright, he is like a 12-year-old emotionally, his grandparents said.
“I explained to Mikey that was bad what he did and it’s illegal and he can't do that,” Tony Dejerolme said.
“I made a mistake in having those [pictures] on there,” Mikey Dejerolme told News4. “I didn't like them.”
Tony Dejerolme told the commonwealth's attorney about his grandson’s diagnoses of Asperger's, seizure disorder and organic brain disorder. They thought prosecutors had decided not to pursue charges until he was indicted on 56 counts a little more than a week ago.
“The neurologists were even shocked,” Tony Dejerolme said.
Jason Pelt, Mikey Dejerolme's defense attorney, said the only way to fight the charges is to use an insanity-type defense, which he conceded could be an uphill battle.
“Did he fully comprehend the criminality of his actions, and I think the answer to that is no, but does that get to the level of not guilty by reason of insanity?” Pelt said.
Mikey Dejerolme's grandparents said they fear for his life if he’s sent to jail.
“Mentally he won’t survive and physically he won’t survive,” Nina Dejerolme said.
The Stafford County commonwealth’s attorney has not returned a request for comment.