Mom of man accused in judge attack 'living with a broken heart'

CENTER CITY (WPVI) -- The mother of the man who is accused of attacking a Pennsylvania Supreme Court justice near Philadelphia City Hall talked to Action News about the struggles she's had with her son.

James Paulk, 26, allegedly struck Judge Kevin Dougherty in the face after asking him for money on Friday night. Paulk was arrested a short time later aboard a SEPTA train.

His mother, Delores, opened up about her son's struggles with schizophrenia that, she says, left him homeless and may be to blame for the attack.

"I'm sorry it happened. I've prayed for the judge, but it may be James' cry for help, knowing he is going to get locked up," Delores said.

A plaque in his parents' Germantown home is a reminder of the young man's talent as a high school baseball pitcher. His diagnosis at 19 changed everything.

"A sweet, good friend, but when he started going through mental health issues he doesn't seem like himself," she said.

Delores says she's committed him numerous times, but he quickly checks himself out.

"We tried to help but he wouldn't follow through with outpatient care, follow through with medications."

Living on the streets since October, James doesn't recognize his illness, according to his mother, who plans to ask the judge hearing his case to order the mental health help.

"He can't keep making decisions that are to his own detriment."

James Paulk faces simple assault and reckless endangering charges.

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