Potentially Preventable Tragedies in MA: 2005-6/2013

Prepared by Mental Illness Policy Org
Based on data from Treatment Advocacy Center


Most people with mental illness are not violent, but there is a subset of those with serious mental illness (primarily schizophrenia and treatment-resistant bipolar disorder) who do become more violent when not provided treatment. Some refuse treatment because they don’t know they are ill. As a kind and compassionate society we must treat these individuals before they become a tragedy. Following are some incidents that might not have turned out tragically had the individuals been allowed mandatory and monitored treatment.

11/2011 Weymouth, Norfolk, MA
On November 10, 2011, 18-year-old Donald Rudolph fatally bludgeoned his 24-year-old sister Caylin, their 50-year-old mother Paula, and their mother’s boyfriend, 52-year-old Frederick Medina. Rudolph, diagnosed with mental illness, had a history of hospitalizations and a criminal history. A neighbor said Paula Rudolph had said her son was not taking the medication prescribed to him, which led to some of his disruptive behavior.  The Patriot Ledger, 11/12/11, 12/3/11, 12/23/11, 1/6/12; NECN, 11/14/11; Boston Herald, 11/12/11

4/2011 Taunton, Briston, MA
On April 8, 2011, 42-year-old Chester MacDonald, who was distraught over a recent break-up, stabbed his ex-girlfriend and then her 62-year-old mother with a two-pronged carving fork and a knife when the older woman came to her daughter’s defense. The father grabbed hold of MacDonald’s hair, pulled him off his wife and daughter, then punched him in the face. MacDonald’s ex-girlfriend suffered several stab wounds to the chest and a collapsed lung. Her mother’s wounds were less serious. The ex-girlfriend told police she had moved out of MacDonald’s apartment earlier in the week because his behavior had become “violent and strange” in recent weeks. She told police MacDonald had stopped taking the medication he was prescribed for his bipolar disorder and had begun drinking heavily. The Taunton Gazette, 4/8/11; Taunton Tribune, 4/12/11; Tauton Daily Gazette, 4/12/11

2/2009 Framingham, Middlesex, MA
On February 11, 2009, police and emergency medical personnel were called to Juan Cabrera’s apartment for reports his eight week old baby girl was not breathing. She was taken to Boston Children’s Hospital where it was discovered she had bleeding on the brain, a broken vertebrae, several bruises, and new and old retinal hemorrhages. Questioned at the hospital the next day, Cabrera admitted to shaking the baby three to five times a few weeks previous while the baby’s mother was out shopping. Cabrera had had been treated for mental illness, including bipolar disorder, but was not presently being treated. Eagle Tribune, 7/2/09

6/2008 Boston, Suffolk, MA
On June 10, 2008, Terri Werner, a 56-year-old art teacher, visited the home of her former student, Luis Marquez, a 26-year-old blind machinist who had been struggling with depression and bipolar disorder. That afternoon, Marquez turned on his old teacher, stabbing her and beating her repeatedly in his basement apartment in Brighton. Jose Marquez said his twin brother had been diagnosed with depression and bipolar disorder in the last two months, and he was concerned Luis might have stopped taking his medication. Boston Globe, 6/11/08, 6/12/08

1/2008 Lowell, Middlesex, MA
On January 11, 2007, 39-year-old Marcelle Thibault, her 5-year-old niece, Kaleigh Lambert, and her 4-year-old nephew, Shane Lambert, died when they were hit by two cars. The incident occurred when Thibault pulled her vehicle onto the grass after driving the wrong way on Interstate 495, removed her clothes and the clothes of the children, gathered them into her arms, and walked them into oncoming traffic. Thibault had a history of mental illness.  Thibault did not take her medication and failed to enter an outpatient program as recommended. Portsmouth Herald News (NH), 1/22/08; Union Leader, 7/9/08; Boston Globe, 12/7/08, 1/26/10

May 6, 2008
On May 6, 2008, George Cowen, 17, drove a car over crowded playing fields at his high school.  Cowen allegedly came close to hitting dozens of people, including a father with his 7-month-old son. Cowen and his parents told police he is bipolar and was suppose to go for a driving test with his father that night, but instead left with his father’s car. He also left behind a note saying, “How I see it, it isn’t worth being around anymore for me or you. I’m taking the car, report it stolen or something. Doesn’t matter where I’m going,” police said. Cowen told police he did not want to hurt anyone and was remorseful. He told police he had not been taking medication prescribed to him. Quincy Patriot Ledger, 5/8/08; Brockton Enterprise, 5/21/08

6/2006 Dorchester (Boston), Suffolk, MA
On June 1, 2006, Kathy Booth fatally stabbed her brother, 44-year-old Keith Payne. Booth said she became angry when she argued with him over a television remote. Booth, according to both the defense and prosecution, has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and had stopped taking her medications for some time before she killed her brother in the family home. At the time of the murder, Booth’s family tried to get her back on her medications. “It just didn’t happen in time.”  Boston Globe, 8/15/07, 10/16/08

1/2007 Uxbridge, Worcester, MA
On January 15, 2007, 35-year-old Lee F. Chiero, 35, fatally stabbed his mother, 59-year-old Nancy Chiero, 59. Police found the body after a relative called for a “wellness check.” Newton police arrested Lee without incident while he sat in a hospital emergency room waiting for treatment of an injured hand which he sustained while attacking his mother.  Chiero, diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, was not on medication at the time of his mother’s death.   Chiero had a history of psychiatric hospitalizations dating back to December 1999 at which time he was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. Chiero’s mental state improved somewhat from 2002 to 2004 as a result of medication and counseling, but began to deteriorate again and  in 2005 and he moved into the basement of his mother’s home. His mother tried to have her son involuntarily committed to a psychiatric hospital on two occasions in December 2006. In the first instance, he was released after spending less than two hours at Milford Regional Medical Center and telling staff he was not paranoid. The second time, he spent four days at Tufts-New England Medical Center before being discharged.  The Boston Globe, 1/16/07, 1/17/07; Milford Daily News, 8/9/07, 3/13/09; Worcester Telegram and Gazette, 4/9/08, 3/19/09, 3/24/09, 3/26/09; MetroWest Daily News, 3/19/09, 4/4/09

12/2005 Newburyport, Essex, MA
On December 18, 2005, Kim A. Blackhall, 44, allegedly beat her 82-year-old mother to death. Prosecutors said Blackhall ”kicked and stomped” her mother, Ruby Blackhall, during a fight that apparently was over money.  A cousin described Blackhall as a dedicated social worker who struggled with mental illness. Ruby has a ”lengthy history” of bipolar disorder and had a ”history of multiple hospitalizations” and had been tapering the amount of mood stabilization medications she was prescribed.  Boston Globe, December 21, 2005; Salem News, 7/18/07

12/2005 Newton, Middlesex, MA
Daniel Westbrook is accused of walking through his neighbors’, Claudia and Jin Chung, unlocked kitchen door with a knife on December 29, 2005 and cutting Claudia’s throat. Westbrook has a history of psychiatric problems including schizophrenia and depression and has not taken his prescribed medication — Zoloft and Zyprexa — for about six months, according to his parents. Waltham News Tribune, January 3, 2006; Boston Herald, December 31, 2005

6/2005 Hudson, Middlesex, MA
Ellen Dusseault, a woman with paranoid schizophrenia, was accused of spraying five children who lived in her apartment building in Hudson, MA with a gasoline-filled Poland Spring squeeze-top water bottle after offering them lemonade in June 2005.  Her paranoia led Dusseault to believe her neighbors were sneaking into her apartment, and she told doctors she kept containers of gasoline and brake fluid around the house, even cleaning her floors and walls with gasoline. Marlborough District Court Judge Thomas Sullivan Jr. determined that Dusseault was incompetent to stand trial. Dusseault’s condition had deteriorated over the years and even more so in recent months. Dusseault had stopped taking her medication, and rarely attended therapy sessions. Milford Daily News (MA), June 18, 2005

6/2005 Newtown
Tim Carlson, 45, was arrested on June 13, 2005 in connection with a burglary at a home in Newton, MA.  According to police reports, Carlson, who suffers from bipolar disorder and AIDS, spit at police when he was arrested and threatened to slit his own throat. Carlson was ordered by Newton District Court Judge Dyane Klein to undergo a 30-day evaluation at Bridgewater State Hospital. Dr. Daniel MacPhail, who evaluated Carlson the night of his arrest, told Klein the man has a history of depression, but was not taking medication. He had been prescribed Lithium in the past, MacPhail said. He said Carlson had suicidal tendencies, and wanted to be sent to a facility where he can receive treatment.  Waltham News Tribune, June 15, 2005

1/2005 Billerica, Middlesex, MA
On January 3, 2005, Joshua Martin, a 26-year-old man with a history of mental illness, assaulted corrections officers with a broken broom handle at the Middlesex House of Correction in Billerica.  Martin, who is legally blind, has been diagnosed as being bipolar and manic-depressive.  Lowell Sun (Lowell, MA), April 20, 2005

12/2006 Swansea, Bristol, MA
Robert A. Gonsalves, 21, was arrested on December 5, 2006 less than an hour after he allegedly stabbed Wayne Mendes inside Mendes’ home. Dr. Stephen BeLisi said Gonsalves suffers from bipolar disorder, post traumatic stress disorder and attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder. “He was not taking his medication”  Fall River Herald News, December 6, 2006; New Bedford Standard Times, December 6, 2006

1/2005 Framingham, Middlesex, MA
John Meloni, 48, a man with mental illness, was charged with the January 7, 2005 stabbings of Officers Michael Degnan and William Fuer in Framingham, MA.  Judge Peter Lauriat entered a plea of not guilty on Meloni’s behalf after Meloni’s attorney John LaChance told the judge doctors found Meloni not competent to stand trial. LaChance said the doctors were seeking to have Meloni committed to Bridgewater State Hospital and also wanted a court order to force him to take medication to treat his bipolar disorder.  MetroWest Daily News (MA), March 2, 2005

On May 3, 2010, 18-year-old Nathan Delaplain-Zook struck and then dragged three teenage girls and a teenage boy with a minivan before fleeing the scene.  Delaplain-Zook’s attorney said his client suffered from schizophrenia and was not taking his medication regularly at the time of the incident. CBSNews.com, 5/4/10 Gatehouse News, 2/23/12

6/2013 Quincy, Norfolk, MA
On June 14, 2013, 41-year-old Wilfredo Justiniano Jr. was fatally shot by a state trooper during a traffic stop on Route 28. Police said that Justiniano was shot during a struggle with the officer. Justiniano’s sister said he had struggled with mental illness for years and that he did not receive the “support” he needed. She said he was driving to Boston to visit their father. South Coast Today, 6/15/13

10/2012 Lowell, Middlesex, MA
On October 2, 2012, 19-year-old Jack Jennings approached a man grabbed his cellphone, pulled a knife, and ran away with the phone. The occurred less than three weeks after Jennings had been released from jail. Jennings’ attorney said his client was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and ADHD, was homeless and, took his medication on an irregular basis.  Lowell Sun, 10/11/12

6/2013 Sandwich, Barnstable, MA
In June 2013, 52-year-old Steven C. Swanson was arrested after he threatened to fly to Los Angeles to kill former Victoria’s Secret model Miranda Kerr. A doctor, who was not identified in the courtroom, testified Swanson suffered from bipolar disorder and schizophrenia and had been off his medication since March. Cape Cod Times, 6/20/13

10/2006 Eastham, Barnstable, MA
On October 17, 2006, David Hill, 23, who had in the past clashed with law enforcement and whom authorities had tried to commit to a mental hospital over the summer, was fatally shot by police after he fired into a police station, threatened officers with a loaded gun, and vowed to kill himself, Eastham police knew David Hill well. He had been arrested at least four times since September 2005.  Police wanted him committed, but officials of the Department of Mental Health said he did not fit the state’s criteria for involuntary commitment. Boston Globe, October 19, 2006

10/2009 Fairhaven, Bristol, MA
On October 14, 2009, Stephen J Wilson was arrested and charged with the noontime attack of a young woman who was walking along the Fairhaven bike path. According to court officials, Wilson, 26, has a long history of mental illness and had not been taking his medications. New Bedford Standard Times, 10/16/09

5/2013 Franklin, Norfolk, MA
On May 7, 2013, 33-year-old Thomas Ian Matthews, who had a history of mental illness, fatally shot his roommate, 72-year-old Harry Berkowitz, before he fled to his former girlfriend’s house and turned the same gun on himself. Observer & Eccentric, 5/26/13

2/2008 Lawrence, Essex, MA
On February 6, 2008, 18-year-old Thomas Belanger fatally stabbed his psychotherapist, 53-year-old Diruhi Mattian, before slitting his own throat.  Belanger’s had long history of psychological disorders including Bipolar Disorder. Also, Belanger had several inpatient hospitalizations, two psychotic episodes where he tried to hurt himself, and was on psychiatric lockdown at Lawrence General Hospital several times. Eagle Tribune, 2/8/08, 9/21/09, 8/6/11, 9/22/11

7/2009 North Adams, Berkshire, MA
On July 8, 2009, the body of 21-year-old Gregory Hillman was found in the Hoosic River in North Adams, ending his family’s multi-state search.  On June 29, 2009, Hillman escaped from an unattended ambulance after leaving a note that he wanted to commit suicide by drowning in Long Island Sound. His escape began an extensive search. Hillman had been staying at Gould Farm, a mental illness treatment facility in Monterey, MA, when he was brought to the Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield to be evaluated as a suicide risk. Darien Times (CT), 7/12/09, 8/6/09; Berkshire Eagle, 7/14/09; Bennington Banner, 8/10/11; North Adams Transcript, 2/1/12; Darien Times, 2/10/12

8/2009 Worcester, Worcester, MA
On August 5, 2009, 29-year-old Jacinto Figueroa slashed a waitress in the face with a box cutter at the Uno’s Chicago Bar and Grill on Major Taylor Blvd. The Worcester man had reportedly been at the restaurant’s bar since noon and had lashed out when a waitress walked by. Worcester police were called to the restaurant, and arrested Figueroa at gunpoint. Figeuroa reportedly yelled out “call the feds” after the incident. Figueroa underwent a psychiatric evaluation the next day. He told the doctor who evaluated him he had been committed to a psychiatric hospital several times in the past few years and has been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. Figueroa claimed he has heard voices he believed to be the FBI in his head lately. NECN.com, 8/7/09

10/2009 Boston, Suffolk, MA
On October 27, 2009, Jay Carciero, a patient at a Massachusetts General Hospital bipolar clinic, stabbed his psychiatrist during a treatment session, and was then shot dead by off-duty special officer Paul M. Langone, 33.   Boston Globe, 10/28/09, 11/2/09; WBZtv.com, 10/28/09; MyFoxBoston.com, 10/29/09, 11/4/09; TheBostonChannel.com, 10/29/09; Boston Herald, 10/30/09, 11/1/09, 4/1/10

10/2009 Braintree, Norfolk, MA
On October 22, 2009, David C. Flavell, 40, allegedly tried to rape a woman inside a bathroom at Massachusetts General Hospital.  Flavell, 40, fears being locked in a closet and believes that he’s on a ship in outer space.  Flavell suffers from “major depression” and a bipolar disorder. Braintree Forum, 10/28/09; Boston Globe, 11/16/09; WCVB, 11/17/09

8/2010 Brockton, Plymouth, MA
On August 9, 2010, 54-year-old Eunice Field fatally stabbed 62-year-old Lorraine Wachsman inside Wachsman’s condo. After allegedly killing Wachsman, Field went to the Brockton police station and confessed to the crime. Field was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. She had run out of out of her medication two days before the slaying. Boston.com, 8/10/10; Enterprise News, 3/14/12

3/2012 Salem, Essex, MA
On March 18, 2012, 25-year-old Tanicia Goodwin, diagnosed with schizophrenia and depression, slashed the throats of her two young children and doused them and their apartment with lighter fluid before setting it ablaze.  Salem News, 3/21/12

8/2011 Boston, Suffolk, MA
On August 10, 2011, 54-year-old Randy Floyd, who had a history of mental illness, fatally shot his 78-year-old neighbor, William Thomas, in the elderly-and-disabled housing complex where they lived, then barricaded himself inside his apartment and opened fire on police and paramedics before a negotiator talked him into surrendering. According to authorities, Moore had been diagnosed with Schizophrenia and had lived in public housing for the disabled for many years. Boston Herald, 8/11/11; TheBostonChannel.com, 8/11/11; Boston Globe, 8/11/11

2/2012 Dorchester, Suffolk, MA
On February 21, 2012, 23-year-old Tu Nguyen fatally stabbed his neighbor, 72-year-old Mary Miller.  Nguyen had a history of psychiatric hospitalizations and violence. When Nguyen was a fifth-grader, he stabbed another student with scissors. In 1996, he threatened to beat up a Boston school psychologist. He pleaded guilty to physically attacking his sister in 2008. In January 2012, his mother got a restraining order against him and asked that he be hospitalized after he threatened to kill her and his siblings on January 11. CBS Local, 2/21/12; Boston Herald, 2/23/12

4/2009 Gardner, Worcester, MA
On April 1, 2009, Susan R. Johnson was arrested after a security guard told police he found her stabbing herself and her daughter in the laundry room of an apartment complex in Gardner while chanting, “Die, die, die.”  At the request of Michael S. Hussey, Johnson’s attorney, and Assistant District Attorney Paula J. Frasso, Judge James R. Lemire ordered that Johnson undergo a psychological evaluation at Worcester State Hospital. Four mental health professionals, including one hired by the prosecution, agreed that Ms. Johnson lacked criminal responsibility for the crimes with which she was charged because of her mental condition at the time. She had a history of mental illness and that she spoke of being stalked by a cult.  Worcester Telegram, 4/6/10

4/2010 Boston, Suffolk, MA
On April 3, 2010, Manny “Junior’’ DaVeiga, 19, died in the midst of a chaotic gunfight after shooting at four officers. Three days before his deadly encounter with police, DaVeiga had a violent run-in with officers in the same neighborhood. DaVeiga allegedly taunted the three officers, screaming obscenities and raising his middle finger. DaVeiga, had been associated with a Cape Verdean gang and had a long history of mental illness. Last May, he was admitted to Bridgewater State Hospital for evaluation. DaVeiga was often depressed, self-medicated with marijuana and alcohol, and said he had hallucinations — he complained of seeing hockey pucks fly at him. At 13, he said, he stabbed his brother because voices in his head told him to, the 33-page report stated. He underwent psychiatric evaluations several times as a teenager and was diagnosed with several conditions, including bipolar disorder. But the psychologist concluded that as long as DaVeiga kept taking his medications, he was not dangerous and did not need to be committed to a psychiatric hospital. Boston Globe, 4/7/10

7/2011 Dover, Norfolk, MA
On July 25, 2011, 58-year-old Richard T. Dunphy drove his SUV into his ex-girlfriend’s vehicle.   Dunphy, who had been harassing his ex-girlfriend, suffers from bipolar disorder and was trying to kill himself.

3/2011 Nantucket, Nantucket, MA
On March 14, 2011, 26-year-old Dora Tejada killed her 3-year-old daughter to fight the “demons” possessing the child. The 26-year-old also claimed to have the ability to see dead people and to speak directly with the “Holy Spirit,” authorities said. Tejada told an island pastor before the killing that her daughter was possessed by demons and that forcing a rose down her throat would drive the bad spirits out. As of March 2013, three doctors had determined that Tejada was not criminally responsible for the death of her daughter.  NYDailyNews.com, 3/17/11; Cape Cod Times, 3/16/13

2/2012 Easthampton, Hampshire, MA
On February 20, 2012, 36-year-old Ryan D. Welch killed his girlfriend 39-year-old Jessica Ann Pripstein. Pripstein called police prior to her death saying her boyfriend was trying to kill her. The call was cut off. Welch was taken to Baystate Medical Center in Springfield for treatment of self-inflicted wounds to his throat. Welch had a history of mental illness. MassLive.com, 2/22/12; Gazette Net, 5/8/12

11/2009 Milford, Worcester, MA
On November 19, 2009, 23-year-old Junior A. Robert was arrested at Pembroke Hospital, following the November 7 attack in which he injured his 55-year-old roommate. Robert beat his disabled roommate when the victim did not give him a ride to a Chinese restaurant.  Robert, diagnosed with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, fled after the attack and checked himself into UMass Memorial Medical Center. Robert was committed to Bridgewater State. MilfordDailyNews.com, 11/20/09, 5/22/12, 9/25/12

1/2009 Brockton, Plymouth, MA
On January 21, 2009, 22-year-old Keith Luke killed two people and wounded a third in a shooting spree. Luke handcuffed, raped and critically wounded a 22-year-old Cape Verdean woman at her apartment and fatally shot her sister, 20-year-old Selma Goncalves, when she tried to intervene. After driving away from the scene Luke fatally shot 72-year-old Arlindo Depina Goncalves, an elderly Cape Verdean man, as he pushing a shopping cart of cans down the street. Luke was arrested after leading police on a chase. He surrendered after crashing into several vehicles and running out of ammunition.  Luke’s mother said her son was diagnosed with psychopathic tendencies, major depression and paranoid schizophrenia. She said Luke was hospitalized for four years as a result of the conditions, from age 15 to 19.  Brockton Enterprise, 1/23/09; Brockton Patriot Ledger, 1/26/09; NECN, 5/16/13; Taunton Gazette, 5/30/13

3/2009 New Bedford, Bristol, MA
On March 11, 2009, Anthony B. Lawson, 48, threatened to detonate a bomb inside an Ashley Boulevard apartment and held police in a five-hour standoff afternoon after barricading himself inside his third-floor apartment. Anthony B. Lawson has a long history of mental illness. Lawson was diagnosed with a form of schizophrenia at 15 and has been hospitalized on several occasions, including a month long stint in May 2006. Lawson has a delusional world view, rambles and often does not make sense when he speaks. New Bedford Standard Times, 3/12/09, 3/13/09

4/2009 Gloucester, Essex, MA
On April 24, 2009, Robert Vonstein, 48, was in Salem District Court, answering to charges of disturbing the peace on March 21 when neighbors reported that he was yelling, screaming and throwing rocks from his back deck shortly before 4 a.m.  Police received four complaints from multiple neighbors that Vonstein had been standing on his back porch and screaming at various times between 9:15 p.m. on April 26 and 1 a.m. April 27. Police were dispatched after each complaint to speak with Vonstein, making contact at least once and asking him to quiet down. Other times Vonstein retreated to his home and refused to answer the door.  A court psychologist had already testified that Vonstein suffers from bipolar disorder. Gloucester Daily Times, 4/29/09

5/2009 Wilbraham, Hampden, MA
On May 7, 2009, David P. Gatti, was fatally shot by Ronald Duval after hearing a loud rattling on the front door of his unit and someone saying “let me in, let me in.” Duval picked up his .380-caliber handgun. When Duval opened the door, Gatti, who lived nearby in Unit C25, stepped inside. Duval felt threatened by Gatti’s delusional and incoherent responses.  When Gatti did not stop coming forward and threatening Duval shot Gatti in the chest, killing him. According to Hampden District Attorney William M. Bennett, Gatti, was a star football and lacrosse player at Minnechaug Regional High School a decade ago, was “delusional and incoherent” when he entered the Duval’s unit. Gatti suffered from severe depression and schizophrenia and was under a doctor’s care.  Springfield Republican, 5/22/09

3/2005 Adams, Berkshire, MA
On March 4, 2005, Luis A. Torres, 18, shot and wounded Michael L. Fair, also 18, a neighbor in his apartment building in Adams, MA. Police tracked down Torres, who has bipolar disorder and attention-deficit disorder, several hours later in a vacant apartment in North Adams, MA.  North Adams Transcript (MA), March 8, 2005; Berkshire Eagle, April 12, 2005;

3/2005 Boston, Suffolk, MA
Francis “Kicker” Lang, 31, fatally stabbed deputy sheriff Richard Dever, 35, outside a Boston pub as he was being ejected for causing trouble on March 19, 2005. Lang had been released from federal prison only 22 days before he killed Dever. Court papers said Lang suffers from bipolar disorder.  Boston Herald, March 22, 2005

4/2005 Dorchester, Suffolk, MA
A 32-year-old Dorchester, MA man was taken to the hospital on April 3, 2005 after he engaged police in a two-hour standoff. Police would not identify the man, believed to have bipolar disorder, but said he had locked himself in his attic and was threatening to hurt himself with knives when family members and neighbors called police. He surrendered before police had to force their way into the house. Following a medical evaluation, he will face charges based on outstanding arrest warrants for unrelated incidents, police said. Boston Globe, April 4, 2005

7/2005 Roxbury, Suffolk, MA
Terry Gray, 37, a man with mental illness, was arrested and charged with the execution-style murder of his stepfather, James Gray, 61. Police found James Gray’s body in bed in his apartment on July 15, 2005. He had been badly beaten, and had a gunshot would to his head.  Gray had been clinically diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and had spent time at Bridgewater State Hospital. Two psychiatrists who had examined Gray as a teenager concluded that mental instability could lead him to commit sudden violent acts.  Boston Globe, July 19, 2005

5/2006 Northampton, Hampshire, MA
Debra Baggett, 49, pleaded innocent to binding her 5-year-old son to a chair with duct tape and threatening him with a knife.  Baggett told officers that she suffers from bipolar.  Police said Baggett had previously been charged with attempted murder and found not guilty by reason of insanity. I Judge W. Michael Ryan ordered that Baggett have no unsupervised contact with her son, take her medications, undergo an evaluation, and cooperate with the Department of Social Services. Springfield Union News, May 12, 2006

August 4, 2006 Worcester
Francis P. Ramos, 47, of Florida, was charged with two counts of kidnapping her 3- and 4-year-old grandchildren as their mother slept. Ms. Ramos, was described in the police report as bipolar and “on and off her medications.” The mother of the two children called police about 7 a.m. when she realized the grandmother and her two children were missing. Police said they checked all bus, train and cab sources for the trio and at 8 a.m. a woman called police to report a woman and two children in the backyard near the in-ground pool of a neighbor’s house.  “When we arrived she was hovering over the little girl. I had to pull her off the child,” Capt. Kearns said. “I don’t know what she would have done if that neighbor didn’t contact us. I don’t know if she was just going for a swim or something terrible.” The 3-year-old girl was completely naked when police apprehended Ms. Ramos. Worcester Telegram & Gazette

1/2005 Worcester, Worcester, MA
On January 31, 2005, Julius L. Owens, was arrested during the early-morning hours after a carjacking and police chase that began the night before in Worcester and ended with a police cruiser being rammed in Shrewsbury. The incident began when a woman called police saying a man brandishing a handgun was at her door. During the incident, Owens fired three shots at pursuing officers, set fire to the rental car he was driving, and carjacked a pizza deliveryman’s vehicle. He was taken into custody after a struggle with police.  Owens was found mentally incompetent to stand trial and was committed to Bridgewater State Hospital.   Worcester Telegram and Gazette, 3/6/07, 11/30/11

4/2006 Springfield, Hampden, MA
On April 20, 2006, Denise Bonilla was on High Street when she called Holyoke police and said she was wanted on a warrant. Police got her, booked her and brought her to Holyoke District Court. While she was being processed in the court lock-up, she began to scream and yell and when a court officer tried to calm her down, she punched the officer in the eye. Later that day, also in lock-up, when a different court officer tried to handcuff her to bring her into the courtroom, she hit him in the chest.  The plea agreement between Assistant District Attorney and defense lawyer are that she stay with all elements of a care plan devised by the state Department of Mental Health. Bonilla told Moriarty she had a schizophrenic disorder. Weissman said that although Bonilla has a long record, many of the crimes seem to come from her psychiatric problems. He said doctors’ examinations indicate that she is a different person while on medication. The Republican, 5/29/07

8/2007 Quincy, Norfolk, MA
On August 5, 2006, police found the body of 6-year-old Joanna Mullin of Weymouth wrapped in a comforter in the back seat of a stolen car her 20-year-old cousin, Ryan Bois, was driving. The body was naked, badly bruised, and showed signs of sexual assault when police discovered it.  Ryan Bois has a history of criminal activity, violence, and mental instability. Bois’s 16-year-old brother, Benjamin Tofani said his brother had been on medication for bipolar disorder. He was in prison for several months last year for a probation violation and four months ago got out of a drug rehabilitation program, Tofani said. Boston Globe, 8/7/07

7/2007 Holyoke, Hampden, MA
On July 5, 2007, Alfredo Rivera attacked Patrol Officer Wilfredo Guzman and struck him numerous times in the face with a hammer while Guzman was patrolling Rivera’s apartment complex in his cruiser. As a result of his injuries, Guzman suffered injuries that forced him to retire, including broken upper and lower jaws, fractured teeth, loss of vision in an eye, permanent memory loss, insomnia, violent dreams and anger.  Rivera, diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, was a longtime client of the state Department of Mental Health. Springfield Republican, 8/14/07, 4/26/09, 5/18/09, 5/19/09, 5/21/09, 12/3/12

9/2007 Fairhaven, Bristol, MA
On September 17, 2007, police arrested Angel Luis Nieves, 19, for stabbing his girlfriend in the head during a domestic disturbance outside their Fairhaven apartment. Nieves, who has several prior arrests for possession and distribution of narcotics and a history of mental illness, is accused of punching his girlfriend several times in the back of her head and trying to stab her with a 12-inch kitchen knife. South Coast Today, 9/18/07

3/2005 Carver, Plymouth, MA
On March 8, 2005, Helen Kirk fatally strangled her 3-year-old son, Justin. Kirk told police that she believed Justin was “the devil” after she strangled the boy.  Kirk was committed to Taunton State Hospital. Psychiatrists for both the prosecution and the defense agreed that Kirk suffered from a major mental illness and could not be held criminally responsible for her actions. Boston Herald, 9/19/07; The Patriot Ledger, 11/02/10, 7/13/12, 8/15/12, 5/11/13

2/2008 Lawrence, Essex, MA
On February 6, 2008, 18-year-old Thomas Belanger fatally stabbed his psychotherapist, 53-year-old Diruhi Mattian, before slitting his own throat.  Belanger had long history of psychological disorders including Bipolar Disorder and had several inpatient hospitalizations, two psychotic episodes where he tried to hurt himself, and was on psychiatric lockdown at Lawrence General Hospital several times.  Eagle Tribune, 2/8/08, 9/21/09, 8/6/11, 9/22/11

2/2008 Boston, Suffolk, MA
On February 25, 2008, Cory Roche, 23, fatally stabbed his mother, Lisa Bryson Roche, 42, and attempted to slash cops who responded to the crime scene. Roche has a history of violence and schizophrenia and once told officials he “hears voices in (his) head,” court records revealed. Boston Herald, 2/27/08

5/2007 Grafton, Worcester, MA
On May 10, 2007, David Hall, 65, strangled his wife, 62-year-old Judith N. Hall. Authorities said Hall, who has a history of psychiatric problems, walked into the Grafton police station the day of the slaying and announced he had killed his spouse.  Court records show Hall has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and has a long history of inpatient and outpatient treatment for his mental illness.  Worcester Telegram & Gazette. 5/22/08

5/2008 New Bedford, Bristol, MA
On May 14, 2008, Police Officers Terence O’Shea and Jonathan Lagoa shot and killed Gerard Tierney inside his South End home after Tierney charged at police with a knife in each hand. Kimberly Connor, the widow of Tierney, described him as “a drug addict” as well as someone who was suffering from schizophrenia and a bipolar disorder.   The decedent apparently wanted to be shot in what has frequently been referred to as ‘suicide by cop.’ “It is an unfortunate outcome particularly because it is apparent that the decedent suffered from significant mental health issues and a crack cocaine addiction. “These conditions appear to have caused his irrational state of mind and ultimately contributed to his death,” he said. The prosecutor said although the officers called for the assistance of the SWAT team, there was not enough time for them to respond. Southcoast Standard Times, 8/21/08

6/2010 Boston, Suffolk, MA
On June 28, 2010, 29-year-old Alejandro Serra led police on a harrowing 20-mile high-speed chase from Boston to Framingham.  A forensic psychologist who was appointed by the court, said Serra was delusional. Serra has a history of mental illness and assaults on police officers, yet he was released from state hospitals, posted low bails, and skipped court hearings after recent arrests, according to court records. Serra, who was committed to a state mental health facility two years ago after he was found not criminally responsible for an assault on a state trooper, was supposed to return to Boston Municipal Court on June 23, 2010 to answer to trespassing charges. He was also supposed to attend court-ordered mental health counseling, according to court records. He did neither. Boston Globe, 6/30/10

7/2010 Somerville, Middlesex, MA
On July 23, 2010, 33-year-old Carol Lynn Kingsley was fatally shot after stabbing three Somerville police officers. Kingsley had suffered with mental health and substance issues for years before she was killed. Kingsley had been released from psychiatric care shortly before the attack.  It was unknown why she was released from care. At 6:30 a.m., police were called to her home when Kingsley set fire to her boyfriend’s clothes. When officers attempted to locate and question Kingsley, she allegedly brandished at least one knife and attacked the three responding officers. Two of the officers suffered serious wounds; one officer suffered stab wounds to his back, shoulder and arm and the other suffered stab wounds to his back and arm.   Somerville News Blog, 7/23/10; The Somerville News, 7/28/10; Boston Globe, 7/24/10, 7/25/10

7/2011 Gardner, Worcester, MA
On July 10, 2011, 35-year-old Andre J. Goguen allegedly duct taped his genitals then tried to rape his neighbor. Goguen’s family said he has many mental health issues and is diagnosed with bipolar disorder.  News Telegram, 7/14/11

3/2011 Pittsfield, Berkshire, MA
On March 18, 2011, 25-year-old Sara J. Stein attacked 29-year-old Crystal Casal with some kind of a sharp object, possibly a knife. Stein was ordered to take her medications and continue to see a counselor.  Berkshire Eagle, 10/22/11

1/2013 Pembroke, Plymouth, MA
On January 9, 2013, 45-year-old William Rearick, a hearing- and speech-impaired man with a history of mental illness, doused his girlfriend’s two daughters with gasoline and attempted to ignite a propane tank inside their home. Boston Globe, 1/10/13

5/2013 Franklin, Norfolk, MA
On May 7, 2013, 33-year-old Thomas Ian Matthews, who had a history of mental illness, fatally shot his roommate, 72-year-old Harry Berkowitz, before he fled to his former girlfriend’s house and turned the same gun on himself. Observer & Eccentric, 5/26/13

DJ Jaffe is Executive Director of the non-partisan Mental Illness Policy Org., and author of Insane Consequences: How the Mental Health Industry Fails the Mentally Ill. He is a critic of the mental health industry for ignoring the seriously ill, and has been advocating for better treatment for individuals with serious mental illness for over 30 years. He has written op-eds on the intersection of mental health and criminal justice policy for the New York Times, Wall St. Journal and the Washington Post. New York Magazine has credited him with being the driving force behind the passage of New York’s Kendra’s Law and Congress incorporated ideas proposed by DJ in the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act.