A Baton Rouge man found not guilty by reason of insanity last August in a fatal 2019 traffic crash will enroll at LSU so he can take online courses this fall from a state mental hospital, it was disclosed in court Monday.

Jack Jordan, who told State Police in July 2019 that God instructed him to kill himself before he intentionally rammed his speeding pickup into a Greenwell Springs woman's car at the intersection of Siegen Lane and Perkins Road, has been held since August 2019 at the Eastern Louisiana Mental Health System in Jackson, where he is receiving treatment.

At the time of the crash, Jordan was scheduled to attend LSU that fall following a spring semester he had spent in their dual enrollment program, which allows current high school students to take some courses. He was 18 at the time.

Jordan's attorney, James Manasseh, said after a court hearing in his case Monday that LSU's online fall semester begins next Monday but Jordan may miss at least a week of classes while the logistics of a patient at the mental facility taking online courses are worked out.

Manasseh said Jordan, now 20, also has a TOPS scholarship.

Brandi Castiglione, an administrator at the mental facility, testified via Zoom that several units at the hospital, including the one where Jordan is housed, are currently in quarantine isolation due to COVID issues. She said other "challenges" include Jordan's not having computer access or the ability to tie into the LSU system.

Manasseh acknowledged after the hearing that what he is trying to work out with LSU, the state hospital and Jordan is "unique" and that, to his knowledge, the mental facility has never had to try to accommodate such a request.

"It looks like he'll be able to take a couple classes online and see how he does with that," Manasseh said outside the courtroom of 19th Judicial District Judge Eboni Johnson-Rose.

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Three doctors who evaluated Jordan determined he was not mentally competent when he plowed into Stephanie Payne's idling sport utility vehicle at more than 90 mph on July 22, 2019. The SUV was engulfed in flames. Payne died at age 51.

Jordan was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia after the crash. He had no criminal or mental health history beside mild depression in the lead-up to Payne's death.

Then-state District Judge Bonnie Jackson agreed last August with the doctors and attorneys, saying it was clear that Jordan was suffering a severe mental episode and did not have the ability to differentiate right and wrong at the time of the incident.

He had been charged with second-degree murder after the crash.

Manasseh had said early on in the case that he believed Jordan suffered a psychotic break and was not in his right mind at the time of the crash. He later said Jordan believed he was living through the rapture, a belief in some evangelical Christian theologies that the saved will be taken to heaven at the end times, and that he was having hallucinations about God telling him he would be taken away from Earth.

Payne, a mother and wife, ran a motivational organization called "I’m Alive 2 Thrive” in honor of a daughter who died in 2016.

At some point, Johnson-Rose will be asked to determine whether Jordan's release into society would be a danger to others. 


Email Joe Gyan Jr. at jgyan@theadvocate.com.