March 20, 2013

Riverview Psychiatric Center employee stabbed, allegedly by patient

Mark P. Murphy, 47, a patient at Riverview Psychiatric Center allegedly stabbed a female employee with a ballpoint pen multiple times on Saturday

By Betty Adams
Staff Writer

AUGUSTA — An employee at Riverview Psychiatric Center suffered serious stab wounds recently when she allegedly was attacked by a patient who has history of assaulting hospital staff members and fellow patients.

District Attorney Maeghan Maloney said she was awaiting a report by police before deciding on any charges in the most recent incident, which occurred Saturday. In the meantime, the patient, whom she identified as Mark P. Murphy, 47, formerly of Eliot, remains at Riverview, she said.

Maloney said initial reports indicate the woman was stabbed multiple times with a ballpoint pen.

“You wouldn’t think of a pen as a deadly weapon,” she said. “They were really horrible injuries.”

Murphy previously had attacked a number of staffers and fellow patients at Riverview. The psychiatric center is the state’s only hospital for forensic patients — people committed to state custody after being found not criminally responsible for criminal offenses.

On Feb. 1, 2006, Murphy was found not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect of the crime of aggravated criminal trespass for breaking into a neighbor’s home in York County in November 2004.

During that incident, the homeowner shot Murphy in the chest.

For the past seven years, Murphy has remained at Riverview in the custody of the commissioner of the Department of Health & Human Services. A superior court judge has had to sign off on incremental steps that allow him some supervised time off hospital grounds.

Capitol Police are investigating Saturday’s attack, according to Maloney. Riverview Superintendent Mary Louise McEwen would not comment Wednesday.

Sylvie Perry, field representative for American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees Council 93, is gathering information about the attack because the victim is a member of that union.

“The only thing I can say is she did have medical treatment and she is out of work, but I don’t have all the facts yet,” Perry said. “We have major concerns about health and safety at Riverview, and we’re trying to address them long-term.”

Records of Augusta police show they also responded to a report of an aggravated assault at Riverview on Arsenal Street at 9:26 a.m. Saturday. Capitol Police Officer Samuel Quintara remained on the scene for about two hours.

Quintara was the same officer who filed an affidavit last June in which he described a Riverview patient reporting that Murphy had come into his room and had begun punching him for no apparent reason.

Court records also show the hospital reported that Murphy assaulted another patient with a fork on Oct. 9. 2007.

A report to Kennebec County Superior Court by Riverview in April 2007 shows that within six weeks of Murphy’s arrival at the hospital, “he had committed three assaults on staff members, the third assault was nearly fatal.”

Betty Adams — 621-5631


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