Man accused of cutting child’s neck; suspect’s mother says he’s mentally ill

CAHOKIA, Ill. – A trip to a Cahokia, Illinois Walmart almost turned deadly for an 11-year-old boy after a 24-year-old allegedly tried to cut the child’s neck with a handsaw.

The mother of the suspect, Tamico Nealy, said she’s baffled by what happened and is trying to figure out what could’ve prompted her son to commit the heinous act.

According to court documents, Corey Hoffman was charged with two counts of aggravated battery and attempted first-degree murder. He’s being held on $300,000 bond.

“My heart dropped. I mean, that baby, he didn’t deserve that,” Nealy said.

Nealy points to her son’s long battle with mental illness as what could’ve set him off.

“When will it stop? When will mentally ill people get the help that they deserve?” she said.

At one point, Nealy made the tough decision to kick Hoffman out of her home for fear of her safety and the safety of her younger son.

“I say I can’t let him live with me no more because I don’t know if I will wake up the next morning,” Nealy said.

For five years, Hoffman’s mother said she’s been trying to get her son the help he needs.

Nealy said she’s pleaded with behavior and mental health facilities to keep Hoffman in their care, but every time he’s released.

“I feel helpless because I have been reaching out to people for some help and they failed. The system failed,” she said.

Nealy is hopeful her son will get the help he needs but said unfortunately it’ll have to be behind bars.

There’s been no word on the child’s condition as of Friday evening, but his injuries were said to be life-threatening at the time of the incident. For her part, Nealy is apologizing to the victim’s family on her son’s behalf.

“I want to say I am so sorry for what my son has done,” she said. “I’m so sorry.”