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November 29, 2011 at 4:51 PM

Lawyer for Greg Halman’s brother says he’ll be kept under psychiatric observation next two months

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PHOTO CAPTION: Mariners outfielder Greg Halman (right) and younger brother, Jason (left) pose for a photo on Nov. 3 at the start of a European tour by Halman and other big leaguers. Halman was stabbed to death less than three weeks later and his brother, Jason, remains the only suspect.
Had a long conversation today with Frits Huizinga, who is a longtime friend of Greg Halman’s family and is now representing younger brother, Jason, in the ballplayer’s stabbing death.
Huizinga is a former vice-president of the Kinheim team in the Dutch Major League, where Greg Halman got his start as a teenager and Jason Halman played up until last season. Besides knowing both brothers since birth, he’s been friends with their mother, Hanny Suidgeest, since she was 16 year old and has known their father, Eddy Halman, since his days playing for Kinheim as well.
In other words, he has the full backing of Halman’s immediate family and he is echoing their feelings when he says the death was the tragic result of terrible circumstances. Jason Halman, he said — confirming our blog post of this morning — had been suffering from psychological and emotional issues in the two weeks prior to the killing.
He had begun talking out loud to himself and very rapidly, not seeming to realize there was anyone else around. This type of behavior greatly alarmed his family.
“That’s the problem,” Huizinga told me. “We never realized what was going on. It was just in the last two weeks.”
Things intensified when Greg Halman returned Nov. 13 to the Rotterdam apartment he shared with his brother, following a European tour with other major leaguers. For much of the next week, Greg Halman saw his brother deteriorate to the point where his constant talking to himself aloud was starting to become unbearable. His pleas to his brother to stop didn’t seem to work.
So, Halman phoned his mother, who traveled to Rotterdam from her home in Haarlem.
“He told his mother ‘Something’s happening with Jason’,” Huizinga said. “They were just concerned that he’d do something to himself.”
Suidgeest arrived on Saturday, less than 48 hours before Greg Halman would wind up stabbed to death. They contacted a doctor, who came to the apartment on Sunday afternoon.
But nothing was done at that point. The doctor gave a referral to the family to bring Jason Halman to a specialist the following day and left him in their care.
“That was a big, big mistake,” Huizinga said, “He was really confused.”
Huizinga said Suidgeest had to leave Rotterdam and return to Haarlem that night to attend work in the morning. But she and Greg Halman assumed the only harm Jason could do would be to himself rather than others.
She left Greg in charge of his younger brother, knowing how much Jason worshipped him and figuring he would listen to any instructions.
“If anybody could handle Jason, it was Gregory,” Huizinga said.
But at some point that night, Jason left the apartment. He didn’t return until roughly 5 a.m. on Monday and was locked out of the apartment because he’d forgotten his key.
Greg Halman was upstairs with his girlfriend, Tanjita Larmony, but heard Jason at the door and went downstairs to let him in. He then went back upstairs to Larmony while Jason remained downstairs in his part of the apartment.
Soon after, Jason began playing music with the volume turned up loud. Sources close to Halman’s family have told me Jason did this in order to block out the voices he’d hear in his head.
Huizinga told me he has not heard that explanation directly from his client, so he could not confirm it. But he did confirm that loud music was played in the apartment and that Greg Halman went back downstairs to see what was going on.
It was soon after that the Mariners outfielder was slashed in the throat, severing his carotid artery. His girlfriend, Larmony, was the one who called police.
Photo Credit: Reuters


Truly worth noting throughout all of this is that Halman’s family has remained staunchly behind his brother, despite his being arrested in the killing. This was evident from the words spoken by Suidgeest at her son’s funeral today, as well as by Facebook postings from Halman’s sister and eye-witness accounts from others at the funeral.
Nobody seems to doubt that Jason Halman is responsible for his brother’s death. They just seem to accept that it was because something was seriously wrong with Jason Halman from a mental perspective in the days and weeks prior.
“It’s all about the state of mind of Jason and what it was,” Huizinga said.
And ultimately, that’s what the Dutch legal system will have to determine. Whether or not Jason Halman can — or should — be held criminally responsible for that took place.
Huizinga said Jason has been placed under psychiatric evaluation and that this is how things will continue for at least two more months. After that point, he added, authorities could decide to charge his client criminally.
Or, they can decide to keep him under psychiatric observation and care for an indeterminate amount of time.
Huizinga said he’s visited with Jason Halman in custody and will probably see him again tomorrow. He said Jason has taken to rambling aloud during the sessions and that, though he’s been told of his brother’s death, does not seem to fully understand it.
“He knows, but I don’t know if he realizes it,” Huizinga said. “When I was with him, he told me he knew about his brother and asked if he could go home to be with him.”
Authorities in The Netherlands will have to ultimately decide whether they believe this account. For now, Halman’s family does. And in their eyes, that makes this agonizing loss for them doubly hard to take.
Nobody I’ve spoken to the past week — from friends and coaches in The Netherlands to Mariners pitcher and close Halman friend Dan Cortes here in the United States — has talked of anything other than the brothers loving each other and being intensely close. Cortes last week told me that it had to be a mistake — that there is no way Jason would harm Greg.
Again, the authorities will decide what happens next.
For now, it’s all just a terrible loss for the family, Mariners fans and members of a small, but growing Dutch baseball community. Huizinga said the full extent of Halman’s legacy wasn’t understood until after he died.
“You can’t imagine the loss here,” he said. “Nobody, until now, realized what a big guy he was. Baseball is a small sport in Holland and in a way, he brought the entire Dutch baseball community together. He will be greatly missed.”

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