Man Charged with Stabbing Released on Bond - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

10/20/06 - East Texas

Man Charged with Stabbing Released on Bond

by Ramonica R. Jones

Twenty-nine year-old Raymond McBride is out of jail on bond. Police said he stabbed a house mate at Innovative Homes of Deep East Texas.

The men live in the group home for people with mental retardation with several other residents and are supervised around the clock.

The Burke Center owns and operates more than a dozen similar group homes in East Texas.

CEO Susan Rushing said, "When they're in a group home situation or when they're living with their own families or living independently, it's usually very safe and they're very well integrated into the community."

Most group homes have state guidelines to follow before a resident can qualify for housing. People have to be clinically diagnosed with mental retardation or a related condition to live there.

Burke Center group home director, Carolyn McDonald, said, "We may look at behavioral issues that an individual may have to see if we can serve that person in the home. If we have a home that's in one of our outreach areas, we may not want to [have] a lot of [people with] behavioral issues because we don't have the support staff there." 

Those living in group homes clean, work, and have visitors. Accidents and fights do happen in this kind of environment, but they are not common in group homes.

"We talk," said McDonald. "If somebody's upset with one of their housemates, we'll talk to both of them and find out what the problem is and try to problem solve."

Some of the neighbors were not happy about this type of home opening in their community, but Burke Center officials said they are now welcomed in most neighborhoods. They believe most people with mental retardation are well-rounded and more likely to be victims than perpetrators of crime.

The Burke Center operates 16 different group homes in 12 East Texas counties for people with mental retardation. Their residents are supervised by licensed caregivers 24 hours a day seven days a week.

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