Judge com­mits man to psych care in Union Hos­pi­tal at­tack

Cecil Whig - - LOCAL - By CARL HAMILTON

ca­hamil­ton@ce­cil­whig.com

— A man who beat a nurse with a plas­tic con­tainer and at­tacked other staff mem­bers — while he was a Union Hos­pi­tal psych ward pa­tient in 2011 — has been com­mit­ted in­def­i­nitely to psy­chi­atric hos­pi­tals, af­ter be­ing deemed “not crim­i­nally re­spon­si­ble” due to his men­tal ill­ness.

Ce­cil County Cir­cuit Court Judge Brenda A. Sex­ton signed an or­der on June 13 of­fi­cially com­mit­ting the de­fen­dant, Felix Mon­roy, 35, to the Clifton T. Perkins Hos­pi­tal Cen­ter in Jes­sup, where Mon­roy has been un­der in-pa­tient psy­chi­atric care al­most since the time of his ar­rest on April 17, 2011, the day of the in­ci­dent.

Mon­roy will re­main at that men­tal hos­pi­tal un­til Mon­day when, also part of the court or­der, he will be flown from BWI Air­port near Baltimore to his na­tive Mex­ico, where he will ar­rive in Mex­ico City and his psy­chi­atric com­mit­ment im­me­di­ately will be trans­ferred to a des­ig­nated men­tal hos­pi­tal in that coun­try.

As part of the transfer ar­range­ments, which in­volved in­put from a Mex­i­can con­sulate, a nurse and other Clifton T. Perkins staff mem­bers will ac­com­pany

ELK­TON

Mon­roy on the flight to Mex­ico, where they will be met at the air­port by his fam­ily mem­bers and staff from the des­ig­nated psy­chi­atric hos­pi­tal in that coun­try.

Mon­roy will be taken di­rectly to that des­ig­nated men­tal hos­pi­tal, where he will re­main un­der court-or­dered res­i­den­tial care in­def­i­nitely un­til psy­chi­a­trists there con­clude that Mon­roy is no longer a threat to him­self or oth­ers and is dis­charged.

Sex­ton listed nu­mer­ous con­di­tions of the ar­range­ment, in­clud­ing that the court promptly re­ceive doc­u­men­ta­tion of Mon­roy’s ar­rival and ad­mis­sion at the psy­chi­atric hos­pi­tal in Mex­ico, not­ing that the en­ve­lope con­tain­ing the of­fi­cial pa­per­work must bear a Mex­i­can postage stamp.

Psy­chi­a­trists at the men­tal hos­pi­tal in Mex­ico also must ap­prise the court here of Mon­roy’s progress and no­tify the court if and when they de­ter­mine that Mon­roy is men­tally able to re­turn to so­ci­ety down there. Mon­roy is pro­hib­ited from hav­ing any type of con­tact, direct or in­di­rect, with the vic­tims and their fam­i­lies, Sex­ton or­dered.

The judge is­sued the com­mit­ment or­der dur­ing a dis­po­si­tion hear­ing, which had been listed as a sen­tenc­ing on the court docket.

On May 23, as part of a plea deal in the five-year-old crim­i­nal case marked by delays due tech­ni­cal­i­ties and de­fense mo­tions re­sult­ing in court-or­dered men­tal health eval­u­a­tions, Mon­roy essen­tially pleaded “no con­test” to first-de­gree as­sault and two counts of sec­ond-de­gree as­sault. Specif­i­cally, he pleaded “not guilty” while agree­ing with the state­ment of facts that pros­e­cu­tors pre­sented about the in­ci­dent.

The judge, in turn, found Mon­roy guilty of those three of­fenses. As part of the plea bar­gain, pros­e­cu­tors dropped 15 re­lated charges against Mon­roy, in­clud­ing attempted first-de­gree mur­der, first-de­gree ar­son and reck­less en­dan­ger­ment.

How­ever, the judge also had ruled that Mon­roy was “not crim­i­nally re­spon­si­ble,” based on con­clu­sions drawn by Clifton T. Perkins psy­chi­a­trists who had eval­u­ated Mon­roy in ac­cor­dance with a court or­der is­sued af­ter his as­sis­tant public de­fender, Thomas Klenk, had filed what is com­monly called an “in­san­ity plea” on be­half of his client. Those psy­chi­a­trists con­cluded that Mon­roy could not dis­cern the crim­i­nal­ity of his ac­tions due to his men­tal prob­lem.

(In De­cem­ber 2012, those state psy­chi­a­trists also had deemed Mon­roy in­com­pe­tent to stand trial, af­ter ex­am­in­ing him and con­clud­ing that Mon­roy’s un­spec­i­fied men­tal ill­ness or de­fi­ciency would pre­vent him from un­der­stand­ing the court pro­ceed­ings and from as­sist­ing in his own de­fense. They eval­u­ated Mon­roy af­ter Klenk had filed an in­com­pe­tency mo­tion on be­half of Mon­roy.)

So instead of fac­ing im­pris­on­ment — his three con­vic­tions carry a com­bined max­i­mum 45year sen­tence — Mon­roy was in­def­i­nitely com­mit­ted.

Dur­ing the hear­ing, Mon­roy, who had en­tered the court­room hand­cuffed, shack­led and es­corted by two cor­rec­tional of­fi­cers, spoke and lis­tened through a Span­ish in­ter­preter.

As­sis­tant State’s At­tor­ney David Par­rack and James Close, an as­sis­tant public de­fender fill­ing in for Klenk, stood as the lo­cal lawyers dur­ing the pro­ceed­ing.

Both sup­ported the com­mit­ment dis­po­si­tion and its par­tic­u­lars, but the bulk of the hear­ing was han­dled by Rhonda Ed­wards, an as­sis­tant Maryland at­tor­ney gen­eral as­signed to that agency’s Health and Men­tal Hy­giene Di­vi­sion, and Brad A. Hersey, an as­sis­tant public de­fender who is as­signed to that of­fice’s Men­tal Health Di­vi­sion.

Af­ter the hear­ing, Hersey re­ported that Mon­roy has made sig­nif­i­cant progress through his men­tal health treat­ment at Clifton T. Perkins over the years. In the court­room, Mon­roy ap­peared well-groomed and seemed alert.

“He is not the same per­son he was when he went in,” Her­shey said, not­ing that Mon­roy is aware of his im­prove­ment and wants to con­tinue to get bet­ter. “This is a suc­cess story.”

Mon­roy, who was a War­wick res­i­dent at the time of the in­ci­dent, used a plas­tic wa­ter pitcher to beat a nurse about 5:20 a.m. on April 17, 2011, on the fourth-floor psy­chi­atric ward at Union Hos­pi­tal in Elk­ton, where Mon­roy was an in­vol­un­tary pa­tient.

He also stood ac­cused of at­tack­ing sev­eral other em­ploy­ees, leav­ing four of them with lesser in­juries than suf­fered by the nurse. Some of the hos­pi­tal em­ploy­ees listed as Mon­roy’s vic­tims were try­ing to sub­due him.

In addition, he stood ac­cused of set­ting a fire in a ward bath­room be­fore he al­legedly lashed out at the staff. An em­ployee quickly ex­tin­guished the small fire.

MON­ROY

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