Travis Fendley's family says if he had been getting the proper treatment for schizophrenia, his grandmother might still be alive.
Fendley's family says he was diagnosed schizophrenic when he was 18, but had been dealing with mental disorders for a lot longer than that.
"He would always talk to me, and he's even told me that if I cut him open, there's no soul in there. It's just darkness."
His aunt, Becky Alford, says he'd displayed the symptoms since his early teens... so much so, that it would get him in trouble with the law.
Alford says it may be the reason Fendley strangled his grandmother to death Tuesday.
Fendley had previously been in jail, and released, his aunt says, because of overcrowding.
But Alford says she begged jail staff to keep him, because he had threatened to kill the rest of the family.
"I'd take him to court and he wouldn't show up. He'd jump out of the car and leave. I was always at the mental health trying to get him help."
Alford says mental health needs to be addressed more efficiently when it comes to incidents like what her family is dealing with.
Her mother is gone.
She says it's hard to blame her nephew.
"In my eyes, there is no closure."
Mental health is being tackled at the state level, with lawmakers making a national push.
State senate president Darrell Steinberg announced he will ask the Obama administration to adopt California's Mental Health Services Act.
It would expand mental health services, including prevention, and early intervention.
"We're trying to move away from the old and expensive crisis-first model and trying to reach people before they hit rock bottom, changing their lives for the better, trying to keep people out of systems in the first place."
Fendley's aunt says their tragedy could've been avoided had jail staff given him the medications as family had advised.
The department of public health is in charge of mental health screenings at the jail...
Officials say inmates needs are addressed as they come in... But that they are also entitled to the same privacy laws that apply to anyone else.
Services are now being planned for Joyce Frazier.
In addition to the murder charge, Travis Fendley is also being charged with carjacking, auto theft, and elder abuse.