A Talented Young Violinist’s Descent into Mental Illness and Crime

Kim Knoble was mastering Mozart violin concertos by the time she hit middle school. As a high school senior, she played with the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra — while doubling as concertmaster of its Marin counterpart.

Then, on a music scholarship at UC Irvine, her brain began to change.

She thought the FBI had tapped her phone, that Hollywood producers were sending her messages. She started using drugs. Years of difficulty followed: Hospitalization. Rehab. Relapse. Tough love. And homelessness.

What brought Knoble redemption was the crime she would commit. Agitated and off her medication two years ago, she pushed a 75-year-old man down the stairs of a city bus. He was injured. She was arrested.

But Knoble was fortunate. She was accepted into San Francisco’s Behavioral Health Court, which in lieu of incarceration offers comprehensive treatment, housing, vocational services and more under the supervision of a Superior Court judge.

by Lee Romney, Los Angeles Times

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