David Messenger Hearing “Pending an Independent Evaluation”

MIDDLETOWN — About three-dozen people crammed into a hearing room at Connecticut Valley Hospital May 1 to hear a panel of six officials decide whether to allow day trips from the psychiatric hospital for a man who killed his wife 11 years ago.
Ultimately — after hearing a sister’s emotional plea and conflicting testimony from psychiatrists — the state Psychiatric Security Review Board put off any decision pending an independent evaluation.

The hearing was the latest chapter in the case of David Messenger, who killed Heather, his pregnant wife, in front of their 5-year-old son in 1998 in Chaplin.

Hannah Williamson-Coon, Heather’s sister, traveled to CVH from her home in Michigan, to face Messenger for the first time in 11 years. She urged the review board to bar him from taking day trips into the community. But before making her plea, she turned to Messenger.

“You denied us all the chance to say goodbye because you beat her beyond recognition,” Williamson-Coon told him. “Only my dad got to see her and he started dying that very moment. That horrible image stayed with him forever.”

The security review board, which has overseen Messenger’s care since he was acquitted in 2001 of killing his wife by reason of “mental disease or mental defect,” had convened to review the hospital’s request to allow Messenger to leave the hospital on day trips. Messenger, 57, committed to the review board’s care for 20 years in 2001, has been a CVH patient since then.



Hearing Today On Killer’s Request For Temporary Leave

Hearing Today On Killer’s Request For Temporary Leave

The Hartford Courant
9:03 AM EDT, May 1, 2009

The state Psychiatric Security Review Board this morning will consider whether David Messenger, acquitted by “reason of mental disease or mental defect” of killing his pregnant wife in 1998, is ready to leave Connecticut Valley Hospital and live in a community.
David Messenger
The hospital has asked the board to grant Messenger a temporary leave that would allow him to live in a neighborhood in Old Saybrook. If the board approves the request, Messenger would remain under the hospital’s care, said Ellen Lachance, the review board’s executive director.

Under the hospital’s proposal, Messenger would not live in a supervised setting and would be allowed to drive, use public transportation and shop with family and friends, according to a partial copy of the hospital’s temporary-leave application.

Lachance said the “full scope” of the hospital’s request would be revealed during this morning’s public hearing at CVH. She said that, in general, patients who receive temporary leaves continue to receive psychiatric treatment and return to CVH for periodic visits.

The review board is an independent agency that oversees people who have been acquitted by reason of insanity. Temporary leaves can allow patients to spend as little as a few hours in the community or live in the community full time, Lachance said.

It is the first step toward rejoining society. The next step — which CVH has not requested — is a conditional release, which results in patients’ being discharged from CVH to live in the community under the care of a community provider.

The board sets the parameters for the patient’s activities and retains ultimate oversight in both scenarios, which could include case management, vocational training and other services, Lachance said.

In this case, CVH is asking that Messenger eventually be allowed to live in the community full time, she said.

In 2006, the security board gave Messenger permission to take unsupervised visits under certain conditions, but rescinded its approval when Middletown officials objected. In 2007, city officials raised an outcry when they found out that Messenger had been on dozens of supervised visits around the city.

Today’s hearing will be Messenger’s first appearance before the board in two years, Lachance said. He has been a CVH patient since 2001, when he was committed to 20 years at the public psychiatric hospital. Messenger killed Heather Messenger with a board and a fireplace poker in their Chaplin home in 1998.

The public can attend the 9:30 a.m. hearing, but only the victim’s family will be allowed to speak. The board will ask representatives from CVH to prove that Messenger could live on his own. An assistant state’s attorney is expected to attend and could argue against granting Messenger a temporary leave.

Copyright © 2009, The Hartford Courant
Link: http://www.courant.com/community/news/mr/hc-preview-messenger-0501.artmay02,0,5018965.story

Man Who Robbed Family To Receive Treatment

Man Who Robbed Family To Receive Treatment
POSTED: 1:26 pm PDT May 2, 2009

EUGENE, Ore. — A 21-year-old Springfield man has been ordered to spend 65 years under the state’s psychiatric security review board’s control after he and other masked intruders robbed a family at gunpoint and shot their dog.

The Register Guard newspaper reports Lane County Circuit Judge Charles Zennach found Jason Eugene Jones guilty but for insanity of robbery, burglary and aggravated animal abuse.

Reports submitted by both defense and prosecution psychiatrists said Jones was unable to conform his conduct to the requirements of the law on the night of the break-in because he suffers from schizoid-affective disorder.

Zennach ordered Jones be committed to the state mental hospital for treatment.

Two Junction City men have received three-year prison terms for their roles in the August incident.

Link: http://www.kptv.com/news/19352284/detail.html