A 92-year-old war veteran is incarcerated for the third time since 2011 for allegedly setting off a violent attack against others, this time his 70-year-old wife.
Joseph Hogan on Friday remained in a Broward County Jail's medical facility after he was arrested on Thursday for allegedly pushing his 70-year-old wife to the ground and shoving her face against the concrete floor outside the couple's home in Hollywood, according to court officials.
He is facing one count of battery on a person older than 65.
Hogan's public defender, W. Dale Miller, said Thursday's incident is the latest in an ongoing saga of a 92-year-old man who appears to be in need of help over his increasingly violent behavior and deteriorating mental health.
Broward County Judge John "Jay" Hurley called the case "unique" and appeared perplexed during a bond court hearing on how to handle the jailing of a man in his 90s who may be suffering from dementia.
"The court is not inclined or comfortable jailing a 92-year-old man," Hurley said. "At the same time, this 92-year-old man now has two felony cases, and I feel that at least in the short term, it seems he's becoming more violent."
Hurley set Hogan's bond at $10,000 and sent the case for a hearing Monday before Broward County Judge Edward Merrigan, who presides over Broward County's Veterans Court. Hogan had already been scheduled to appear before Merrigan in another case before Thursday's arrest.
Hogan's attorney is also representing him in the November 2011 case, in which the veteran is accused of attacking his elderly neighbors with a shovel. In that case, Hogan was released on his own recognizance and was awaiting trail.
The neighbors, both over the age of 65, fended Hogan off with a broom and an edge trimmer, according a Seminole police report. Hogan later kicked a Seminole police officer in the groin, according to the report.
Months before that incident, Hogan was arrested for hitting one of the same neighbors with a baseball bat, In that case, Hogan accused the neighbor of stealing his ladder. Police transported Hogan to a mental facility for evaluation.
His attorney said he was working with the state's new veterans court system in reaching an alternative resolution to Hogan's criminal case. That may include placing him in an assisted-living facility and seeking care through a new Broward geriatric psychiatric clinic for veterans, said Miller.
"It is very surprising he was back," Miller said. "We were getting closer to a final resolution and now this sets everything back."
Miller told Hurley that his client had been receiving psychiatric assistance through the U.S Veteran's Affairs, but that "they kind of gave up on him."
"He has a cognitive disorder that I believe is age-related," Miller told Hurley. "He was seeing a psychiatrist who didn't see any benefits in continuing those services."
A spokesman with the Miami VA Health Care System said Friday that health privacy laws prevent him from releasing any specific medical information about Hogan.
However, "under no circumstances would the age of a veteran ever impact the care we provide for mental health services," said agency spokesman Shane Suzuki.
Hogan's wife, Jane, said after Friday's hearing that her husband's mental and physical health has been fading in recent years and he has often refused to take his medications. The retired couple, together for about 11 years, met in a South Florida country club and fell in love, she said.
After Friday's bond court hearing, the wife walked across the courthouse and filed for a restraining order, court records show.
"I am very scared of him," she said. "I am surprised he didn't strangle me. This is not something that happens only to young couples. A lot of older couples are going through these same violent issues."
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