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By: Tim's Law  09-12-2011
Keywords: Mental Health, Psychiatrists, mental illness

Is it really possible to securely and safely release someone into the community, mere months after they brutally murder someone, as has happened in a number of recent cases in Canada?

For the second time in a little over a year a murder has occurred at Clifton T. Perkins Hospital, a maximum security facility for the criminally insane located in Jessup Maryland.

Twenty four year old Vitaly Davydov from Montgomery County has been charged with murder in the beating death of his roommate 22 year old David Rico-Noyola from Anne Arundel County. Vitaly who suffers from schizophrenia and bipolar disorder had been at the facility ever since he fatally beat his psychiatrist in his Bethesda office in September of 2006.

In 2007 Vitally was found not criminally responsible for the killing because of severe mental illness and was ordered to the hospital until he was determined to no longer be a threat to anyone.

David had been at the hospital since August of 2008 after the Department of Mental Health and Hygiene labeled him incompetent to stand trial for the beating death of his mother 48 year old Ofelia Noyola – Monrroy. He had been scheduled for another competency hearing next month.

This story may have happened in America but it is still a stark reminder of the challenges faced when treating persons with severe cases of mental illness. Some may argue that treatment methods vary between facilities and the severity of the mental illness can differ greatly between individuals. Valid point in some cases maybe.

It would be interesting to have a dialogue with individuals dealing with the mental health community. Hearing their concerns, and comments in regards to areas that are lacking in the Canadian Mental Health establishment is a place to start.

On August 4, 2010, suffering from severe and intense delusions, Etienne Beaulieu believed that a young woman was trapped inside the body of his mother, 49-year-old Isabelle Robitaille. Etienne Beaulieu killed his mother to free that young woman the court has heard.

The agreed statement of facts that was presented to the court. The Crown is not contesting any of the evidence:

-The Court heard Beaulieu’s family had been concerned about the Etienne deteriorating mental health for months.

-Beaulieu was seeing a psychiatrist and spent a few days in the hospital at the end of July, just days before he attacked his mother.

-On Aug. 4, 2010, Beaulieu was home alone with his mother at their Bissonnette St. home. Beaulieu hit his mother twice over the head with a baseball bat, then dragged her down a set of stairs. Etienne Beaulieu stabbed his mother in the neck and the stomach.

-The rest of Beaulieu’s family, his father and sister, returned to the house at 6 p.m. and discovered the horrific scene.

-Robitaille, a French immersion teacher at Prince of Wales Public School, died of her injuries at the Peterborough Regional Health Centre.

Local press has stated ”Beaulieu’s defense team has argued his mental illness was so severe he could not comprehend the repercussions of his act.”

The outcome of this hearing is a foregone conclusion. Decided long before the judge hands down the decision she is bound to deliver, Etienne Beaulieu will be found “not criminally responsible” in the killing his mother.

Dr. Gary Chaimowitz, a psychiatrist who examined Beaulieu in May, testified that Beaulieu was suffering from intense and aggravating delusions that day, and in his deteriorating mental state, Beaulieu believed another person was trapped inside the body he saw in front of him. Chaimowitz also testified Beaulieu had a “major psychiatric disorder”, but didn’t offer a formal diagnosis to the court. He testified Beaulieu could be suffering from schizophrenia. His symptoms included paranoid and bizarre delusions including the illusion that he was being persecuted.

The psychiatrist believed Beaulieu had suffered from these delusions for years before the attack. That Beaulieu was unable to distinguish right from wrong that day. “His disorder was so intense, so active, he could not appreciate the consequences of his actions,” Chaimowitz testified.

Chaimowitz testified that although Beaulieu’s state has improved since arrest, and he continues to improve each day, he does still pose a risk to the community. Chaimowitz then adds the risk could be managed with treatment, hospitalization and supervision.

As has been so often in the past, the only argument clearly heard in the Whitby courtroom is that a family struggling with the effects of mental illness sought help. And as so often is the case, it is only after disaster has struck, and life has been forever altered, that a psychiatric community offers a message of hope. “The risk can be managed with treatment” they say.

If that is true, then what types of intervention and care should have been implemented before August 4, 2010. Society needs to question why treatments were not successful. Isabelle Robitaille is dead. Her family torn apart. Etienne Beaulieu is not criminally responsible. The cost is immeasurable, and yet nobody pays.

And the crown sits quietly, patting themselves on the back for a job well done.

In 2004, North Battleford Queen’s Bench Justice Donald Krueger found Larose to be not criminally responsible for his actions because of a mental illness.According to evidence from a psychiatrist, Larose suffered from a chronic paranoid schizophrenic illness.

Doctors have determined that Larose no longer poses a threat and he has been slowly reintegrated back into society. Larose will have to report to a mental health worker and live in a group home.

Well not totally free. In November JR will be required to live at an Alberta residence approved by her probation officer, report to authorities once a week and notify her probation officer if she moves. She will be under a daily curfew from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., continue with her treatments and not use illicit substances or have any weapons. A peace officer or probation officer will monitor JR’s use of social networking sites. J.R.’s sentence will be reviewed again next March.

The  Albertan teen killed her parents and younger brother when she was 12  but is a low risk for future violence and will be allowed to live in the community, a judge decided at her sentence review. The girl (JR) and her then-boyfriend Jeremy Steinke, who was 23,  murdered her parents and eight-year-old brother at the family’s Medicine Hat, Alta. home in 2006.

JR was found guilty of three counts of first degree murder. She was not declared “Not CriminallyResponsible” So why is she on Tim’s Law?

JR began her 10-year-sentence at a psychiatric hospital.

“The latest psychologist report shows the girl is cooperating fully with staff within the treatment program. The girl has displayed “exemplary behaviour. You are entering into a new phase in your program which is integration into the community. I’m sure it will not be particularly easy for you having been in a custodial setting,” Judge Brooker said Tuesday

At the end of the hearing J.R. spoke about her treatment. “I’m very grateful … it has really helped me to grow,” she said.

In part the letter stated: “From testimony given over the last few weeks it is quite clear that Noyes was a threat to the community and a danger to children. Any layman can see that there was a clear history of violence and homicidal delusions, yet she was released back into the community over and over again. This woman knew she was ill”…. end quote

The woman found not criminally responsible in the murder of John Fulton will remain in a forensic psychiatric hospital for another year. Not because of the action of the local RCMP, the mental health workers, her psychiatrists, or her doctor. Rather through her counsel, Kimberly Noyes requested and consented to have her stay at the forensic psychiatric hospital in Port Coquitlam, B.C. extended and annual hearing postponed by another 12 months.

There were reports last year that Noyes was granted escorted leave from the hospital but the BC Review Board said that she has remained in detention at the hospital and has not had any escorted access to the community. As the Fulton letter stated “with a clear history of violence and homicidal delusions, she is released back into the community over and over again.

Kimberly Noyes knows she still ill and has delayed her own release.

The letter concluded This senseless crime was completely avoidable. Noyes’ actions were completely deplorable but mental health’s inactions are equally so.”Something don’t appear to change.

Keywords: Mental Health, mental illness, Psychiatrists

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09-12-2011

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Prosecutor John Pollard and defence lawyer John Olver both recommended Ms. Lafleur be found not criminally responsible for the murder, and that the Ontario Review Board, which reviews the status of those declared NCR, determine how best to manage her in the future.