Michael Roberson, a man who stabbed a woman several times and gouged out both her eyes, has been committed to a mental health facility.

Roberson, 47, had been charged with attempted first-degree murder and aggravated assault after the attack.

The victim, his former girlfriend, had visited Roberson to pick up their then-2-year-old son, she testified in a November 2017 preliminary court hearing. That testimony was only about a month after the attack. Her eyes were bandaged, and officers had to lead her into the courtroom and the witness box.

The couple had broken up about a year earlier, she said, but she still saw him a few times a week during drop-offs and pick-ups.

She knew he suffered from paranoid schizophrenia, though she didn't know he wasn't taking his medication.

Roberson had been argumentative, she said, and was afraid of losing his son. On Sept. 27, 2017, he asked to move in together, but the woman said she didn't think that was a good idea and tried to leave with their son.

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Michael Roberson

"That's when he started hitting me in the head," she testified that November day.

She ran outside. That's when Roberson tackled her to the ground and gouged her eyes out with his fingers.

By the time police arrived, Davenport had lost both her eyes, was stabbed in the stomach and breast and had a laceration on her arm, according to court records.

On July 11 of this year, Roberson was found not guilty by reason of insanity, but he was kept in custody pending a review by two psychologists.

Nearly three months later, Assistant District Attorney Andrew Coyle said that, after reviewing the evaluations from the psychologists, he recommended Roberson be committed to involuntary treatment in a secure facility.

Hamilton County Criminal Court Judge Don Poole said on Wednesday it was clear to him that Roberson presented a danger to the public and ordered that he be committed to the Middle Tennessee Mental Health Institute, according to a news release from the district attorney's office.

Poole added that "under no circumstances can Roberson be released without a hearing and permission of the court."

This isn't the first time Roberson was found not guilty by reason of insanity. In 2006, he was charged with aggravated assault for attacking three police officers who tried to stop his aggressive behavior at Patten Towers, the Times Free Press previously reported. 

In the scuffle, Roberson tried to grab one of the officers' guns, prompting the officer to drop an ammunition magazine to prevent a shooting. The charges were dismissed about a year-and-a-half later when a judge ruled Roberson was not guilty by way of insanity.

Contact Rosana Hughes at or 423-757-6327.