PSRB determining whether Gorger should be released

Should this killer be released?

by Adam Ghassemi KATU News and KATU.com Staff

Rex Gorger

SALEM, Ore. – A murderer will learn Wednesday whether he will be evaluated for release from the Oregon State Hospital to a secure residential treatment facility and the mother of his victim says she will be there when the Psychiatric Security Review Board makes its decision.

It’s hard to think a parent could ever come to grips with losing a child, especially to murder, but that’s the burden Teresa Wenzel has been carrying for nearly 11 years.

“There are members of the family that are still incredibly angry,” she said. “There are members of the family that are incredibly hurt. My daughter misses her brother all the time, so it’s not been easy for them.”

Wenzel’s son, Chris Bowen, died Christmas night in 1998 at the age of 21. He had been stabbed 42 times in his Tigard apartment.

In 2001, Rex Gorger confessed to the killing and since then, Wenzel has had to fight to keep him in the state hospital.

“You can’t bring my son back, so revenge isn’t going to get you anywhere. Being angry doesn’t get you anywhere. I just want to make sure that the public is protected,” she said.

Now the time to fight has come again. Wenzel believes sending Gorger to a secure residential treatment facility is a mistake.

“They’re unsupervised,” she said. “They can come and go as they want. And I have a real problem with that because I don’t feel that the neighborhood is safe. I don’t feel that anyone associated with Rex is safe.”

Authorities say just before Bowen’s murder, Gorger repeatedly stabbed a man who was on his way to Christmas Eve mass. The man survived. Following the attack on Bowen, Gorger then stabbed his father multiple times, critically injuring him. Reason enough, Wenzel says, for the killer to remain secure.

“You make a commitment. And as a mother you make a commitment to your children. And you make a commitment to the world to keep it safe,” she said. “And my commitment is that as long as this keeps coming forward, I will continue to try to keep the public safe.”

Wenzel said she would be fine with a secure facility if Gorger could remain in lockdown.

Wednesday’s hearing on the matter is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. It is important to note that the Psychiatric Security Review Board is not determining whether Gorger should be released, but whether he should be evaluated for release. This is a regularly scheduled, two-year hearing.

Wenzel said her family will be there.

http://www.katu.com/news/50823232.html

From The Oregonian of Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2001
Man sent to state hospital in stabbing

Rex Anthony Gorger, who faces murder charges in another case, wounded his father in 1998

By Holly Danks

HILLSBORO — A 21-year-old Tigard man on Monday was committed to the Oregon State Hospital for as long as 20 years for stabbing his father.

Rex Anthony Gorger still faces charges of murder and attempted murder in the death of an acquaintance about 15 hours before he tried to kill his father and in the stabbing and wounding of another man two days before that.

Monday’s ruling should have no bearing on the other cases that are yet to be tried. No dates have been set for those trials.

Although the three attacks were close in time, when Washington County Circuit Judge Mark Gardner found Gorger guilty but insane after a trial without a jury in February, he was ruling only on Gorger’s mental state at the time of the attack on his father, Richard Allen Gorger. Gardner found him guilty except for insanity of attempted murder, first- and second-degree assault, and unlawful use of a weapon.

According to police and court reports, the elder Gorger was stabbed late the morning of Dec. 26, 1998, in his Tigard home in the 13200 block of Southwest 72nd Avenue, where his then-18-year-old son was living. Richard Gorger was in critical condition when hospitalized but later recovered.

Dr. George Suckow, a psychiatrist who testified for the defense, said Rex Gorger was schizophrenic and psychotic, even though he was found able to assist in his own defense after about a year of treatment at the state hospital.

While in the Washington County Jail awaiting sentencing for the attack on his father, Gorger told a detective and corrections deputy about the other stabbings. Until then, they had been unsolved.

Gorger was indicted in May in connection with the fatal stabbing of Christopher Reid Bowen, 21, of Tigard. And a Clackamas County grand jury indicted him in August in the stabbing that injured Theron Jay Marrs, then 37, of California.

Bowen was found dead of neck and chest wounds about 5:30 p.m. Dec. 26, 1998, in his unit at the Arbor Heights Apartments in the 15100 block of Southwest Royalty Parkway in Tigard. Marrs was stabbed from behind in the parking lot of the Church of the Resurrection in the 21000 block of Southwest Stafford Road in Tualatin shortly before 10 p.m. while on his way to Christmas Eve Mass.

Suckow also said Gorger was a substantial threat to the community and should be sent to the state hospital, not released to his family or any kind of community mental-health program.

Cascadia begins to pay back $2.3 million government loan

Cascadia begins to pay back $2.3 million government loan
Posted by mhaberman July 06, 2009 18:01PM

More than a year after its financial crash threatened to upend mental health care services in Multnomah County, Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare made its first payment on the $2.3 million government bailout that allowed the agency to stay afloat.

Cascadia, the county’s largest provider of mental health care services, came near to collapse in April 2008 under the weight of poor business practices.

The nonprofit company last week paid $90,000 toward the loan, said Althea Milechman , a Multnomah County spokeswoman.

Forty percent of that amount will go to the state Department of Human Services and the rest to the county. Payments are scheduled in increasing increments through February 2021.

At the time of the crash, Cascadia provided about 80 percent of the county’s adult mental health services, including housing, treatment and crisis services for mental illness and drug and alcohol addiction.

In the aftermath, Cascadia has transferred several clinics in Multnomah and Washington counties to other providers.

“We don’t want to put all of our eggs in one basket,” said Mindy Harris, Multnomah County chief financial officer .

–Gillian Frew: gillianfrew@news.oregonian.com

http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2009/07/cascadia_begins_to_pay_back_23.html

Man arrested in Corvallis standoff mentally ill

Man arrested in Corvallis standoff mentally ill
by Associated Press

CORVALLIS, Ore. (AP) — A judge has ordered a Corvallis man to be placed under the supervision of the state Psychiatric Security Review Board after he was arrested following a police standoff.

Nathan Lenahan

In March, 30-year-old Nathan Lenahan threatened his roommate with a knife.

Hospital to evaluate man arrested after standoff in Corvallis. Lenahan, who refused to leave the house when police arrived, was taken into custody after a SWAT officer temporarily disabled him by firing a Taser through an open window.

Lenahan underwent psychological evaluation this month at the Oregon State Hospital. A report said he suffers from paranoid schizophrenia.

He was found “guilty except for insanity” Thursday on a burglary charge in Benton County Circuit Court.

http://www.kval.com/news/46474792.html

Governor signs bill on siting group homes

Governor signs bill on siting group homes
By the Albany Democrat-Herald

Gov. Ted Kulongoski has signed a bill on the siting of group homes for people under supervision of the state Psychiatric Security Review Board, state Rep. Andy Olson reports.

Olson, R-Albany, said House Bill 2052 is intended to give communities a greater voice in the placement of review board clients, who have been found guilty of crimes except for insanity.

Olson said the legislation makes the process for siting halfway houses, residential treatment centers and other facilities more transparent and responsive to the public.

Olson had worked with criminal justice and mental health representatives on this issue for the past year.

The proposed siting of a group home for review board patients had caused controversy in south Albany last year. The state contractor that bought the home eventually placed other mental patients there.

Controversy also arose recently about the siting of a group home in north Corvallis for people with mental illnesses.

The new law will require public agencies to inform local public safety coordinating councils of their intent to site residences for review board clients.

The bill enables a special subcommittee within each coordinating council to review the proposals. Subcommittees consist of local district attorneys, law enforcement officers, county mental health directors, mental health advocates, and citizens appointed by city councils and county commissioners.

“In advance of these placements, communities will be better informed of the size and population of these centers, the qualifications of facility staff and other important details,” Olson said in a statement. “Less than 2 percent of PSRB clients ever repeat their crimes. HB 2052 offers an avenue for greater discussion, education and awareness.”

Giving communities a say in the placement of PSRB clients was a component of the House Republicans’ 2009 agenda, the party caucus office at the Capitol said.

http://www.democratherald.com/articles/2009/05/31/news/local/1aaa02_homes053109.txt

Man to spend 16 years in psych hospital for Tucson killing

Man to spend 16 years in psych hospital for Tucson killing
By Kim Smith

ARIZONA DAILY STAR
A seriously mentally ill man who admitted killing a Tucson resident five years ago was sentenced to 16 years in the Arizona State Hospital Wednesday by Pima County Superior Court Judge Richard Fields.
Michael Lynn Steele, 40, was charged with first-degree murder in June 2004 after police said he shot and killed Elton Prunty.
In December 2006, Steele was civilly committed to the Arizona State Hospital in Phoenix after doctors determined Steele was a paranoid schizophrenic and probably would never be competent enough to stand trial.
Last July, prosecutors re-indicted Steele on the murder charge after his civil commitment ended.
Last month, Steele pleaded guilty except insane to second-degree murder and agreed to serve a 16-year sentence at the Arizona State Hospital.
Steele was formally sentenced Wednesday after Prunty’s mother, Diane Harris, was given a chance to address the judge.
Harris expressed displeasure with the criminal justice system and spoke about the loss of her son, an “honorable” man who fought personal demons, but was much loved.
While she was often unable to voice her opinions on the case, Harris said her son’s killer was always treated with “kindness and respect.”
Doctors at the state hospital can release Steele before the end of his sentence if they determine he is no longer a danger to himself or others, said Rick Unklesbay, chief trial counsel for the Pima County Attorney’s Office. However, Steele would remain under the supervision of the Psychiatric Security Review Board, which can hospitalize him again at any time without a hearing.
Court documents indicate that at one point Steele was convinced an outlaw motorcycle gang, the Aryan Brotherhood and the New World Order wanted to kill him and were plotting to take over the world. He also believed many of Tucson’s police officers, lawyers and judges were actually bikers who were in on the conspiracy.
Steele told authorities he was burglarizing a house with Prunty when he saw a photo that convinced him Prunty had set him up and was going to hurt him. He said he shot Prunty in self-defense.
At that time, Steele wanted to go to trial, insisting he wasn’t mentally ill and a “truth serum” would prove he was telling the truth.
Contact reporter Kim Smith at 573-4241 or kimsmith@azstarnet.com

http://www.azstarnet.com/sn/hourlyupdate/296532.php

Insurance company of driver who intentionally hit cyclists agrees to pay $100,000

Insurance company of driver who intentionally hit cyclists agrees to pay $100,000
Posted by jrose June 17, 2009 07:51AM

Two things I didn’t know: Without a court verdict, an insurance company can refuse to process a car-crash victim’s claim if its policyholder refuses to cooperate. And liability policies don’t cover “I meant to do it” crashes.

Well, nearly two years after Johnny Eschweiler deliberately rammed his car into two bicyclists on a Portland street, his insurance company has agreed to pay one of the victims $100,000.

But it wasn’t because Eschweiler, a janitor who avoided a prison sentence after being found guilty except for insanity, had a change of heart and started cooperating with Farmers Insurance.

“Johnny has refused to talk to his own insurance company the whole time,” said Mark Ginsberg, the Portland attorney of injured cyclist Ben Ramsdell. “They couldn’t do anything as long as he refused to cooperate.”

Complicating things, Ginsberg said, was the fact that Eschweiler admitted intentionally crashing into Ramsdell and Timothy Mastne – after one of the cyclists chided him for bad driving – in the 1000 block of Southeast Clinton Street on Aug. 17, 2007.

Intentional crashes aren’t typically insured by liability policies, he said. But when Multnomah County Circuit Judge Michael McShane found Escweiller guilty but insane, “intent no longer mattered,” Ginsberg said, noting that the driver in effect didn’t have the mental stability to know what he was doing.

Farmers agreed to recognize Ramsdell’s claim of $100,000, the maximum covered under Eschweiller’s policy.

In court, a psychiatrist testified that Eschweiler – who has been brain damaged since childhood and has trouble controlling his impulses – was capable of living peacefully with proper supervision.

McShane ordered Eschweiler shall live at home under the jurisdiction of the state Psychiatric Security Review Board for up to 15 years. Eschweiler had been charged with two counts of attempted murder among other crimes and could have faced at least 7 1/2 years in prison if convicted without the insanity clause.

Eschweiler is also forbidden from driving his car for the rest of his life.

Ramsdell, 27, suffered a broken nose and finger, deep scrapes to his face and missing chunks of tissue from his shoulders and back. He was hospitalized for a week, took painkillers for two months and struggled through a difficult time as he withdrew from those drugs.

In April, he said he still had pain in his muscles, and scars across his face.

Ramsdell said the incident unfolded as he was cycling to work on the bike boulevard and Eschweiler drove by within inches of hitting his handlebars. Ramsdell said he caught up at a stop sign and tapped on Eschweiler’s window, then told him to drive more carefully. Eschweiler put the car in park and opened the door, he said.

“I took off, made it two blocks and the next thing I know I was in the ER,” Ramsdell said.

Mastne was cycling in the opposite direction when he was struck by Eschweiler. He was hospitalized with injuries including extensive road rash.

Ginsberg said $40,000 of the insurance settlement will go to medical bills and percentage will be taken out for attorney fees. “But this was the best outcome possible,” Ginsberg said, noting that Eschweiler likely wouldn’t have the income or resources to pay for a civil settlement.

A claim by Mastne, 43, is still pending.

– Joseph Rose; josephrose@news.oregonian.com

Trial begins for Griswold man charged with killing mother

Trial begins for Griswold man charged with killing mother
By GREG SMITH
Norwich Bulletin
Posted Jun 24, 2009 @ 02:15 PM
Last update Jun 24, 2009 @ 02:20 PM
New London, Conn. —

Griswold

On Jan. 5, while Griswold firefighters battled a house fire at 74 Richardson Hill Road, Carson Mueller was telling state police he “had done something drastic to protect his children,” state police trooper Brett Langevin testified this morning.

Langevin was one of six people called to the witness stand the state today on the first day in Mueller’s trial before a three judge panel in New London Superior Court. Mueller is charged with murder in the killing of his mother and first-degree arson for sparking a fire that destroyed her home during a failed suicide attempt.

Defense attorney Peter E. Scillieri plans to argue that Mueller, 34, suffered from mental illness at the time authorities say he strangled to death his mother, 69-year-old Denise Mueller. He could be found not guilty by reason of mental illness or defect and under state law get committed to the custody of the state Psychiatric Security Review Board.

Police said Mueller directed authorities to a spot in Pachaug State Forest where he had left his mother’s body wrapped in plastic.

Under questioning from state prosecutor John P. Gravalec-Pannone, emergency medical responders and police testified that Mueller was forthcoming about the events of that morning.

“Mr. Mueller stated he had doused the house with gasoline and had intended to blow his head off, in his words, after he lit the house on fire,“ Langevin said.

When Mueller lit the gasoline it caused an explosion that propelled him through the wall of the home and actually saved his life, police said.

While Mueller claimed he was abused by his mother and wanted to protect his own children, there has been no evidence presented to back up those claims.

http://www.norwichbulletin.com/news/x737341804/Trial-begins-for-Griswold-man-charged-with-killing-mother