Wednesday, April 16, 2014
AUGUSTA — A woman who stabbed her boyfriend to death in Bangor last year but was found not criminally responsible by reason of insanity will be allowed supervised time out in the local community, a judge ruled Friday.
That’s at least in part because she is so ill she doesn’t pose a risk.
Gail Judd, 54, was committed to Riverview Psychiatric Center in Augusta for stabbing her boyfriend, 47-year-old Michael Drouin, in February of 2012 in a Bangor apartment. Drouin was found dead in the apartment and Judd was charged with murder two days later.
She was found not criminally responsible and committed to Riverview.
Friday, a request to allow her to be out of Riverview, and in the community, for up to four hours a day if she is supervised by a staff member one-on-one was approved by Justice Michaela Murphy.
Judd suffers from severe cirrhosis of the liver which has caused pulmonary hypertension and made her unable to breathe without supplemental oxygen, according to Dr. William Nelson, a psychologist who is Riverview’s chief medical officer. The disease also left her unable to get around without being pushed in her wheelchair. She also suffers from pneumonia and her conditions are likely incurable and her condition will deteriorate over time.
Judd’s ability to be in the community while supervised by a staff member “was felt to be safe and desirable because of her medical condition, which would ameliorate any safety concerns that the community might have,” Nelson said in Kennebec County Superior Court Friday morning. “She is pretty much wheelchair-bound. She can’t walk more than a few feet. She can’t push her wheelchair.”
Laura Yustak Smith, attorney for the state, noted Judd stabbed her victim in the chest in 2012, and asked how quickly her physical condition had deteriorated.
Nelson responded that the onset was fairly rapid and her condition has gradually deteriorated. He said he did not think she would be capable of committing a similar act of violence due to her physical condition.
Nelson said Judd’s liver condition was a result of 30 to 40 years of alcohol abuse and addiction.
At the time of her trial, Judd’s defense attorney said she suffered from a liver condition that caused too much ammonia in her system, which sometimes drove her to a delirious state, according to an Associated Press report. Her attorney told the court she was in that state when she stabbed Drouin.
In court Friday, Judd was wheeled into the courtroom by a nurse and had tubes running from an oxygen tank to her face. The only time she spoke was when Murphy said she would sign an order allowing her to go out in the community with one-to-one supervision and wished her luck.
“Thank you,” Judd said.
The State Forensic Service, which reviews requests for treatment plan changes of patients found not criminally responsible for crimes, advised against decreasing Judd’s supervision beyond one-to-one, because her physical needs would make it difficult for a worker to push her around in a wheelchair while also supervising her and any other patients.
Nelson, who initially said Riverview staff’s recommendation would be to consider eventually allowing Judd out with one staff member and two other patients, said he agreed it would be difficult to move Judd to a reduced level of supervision.Keith Edwards — email@example.com