AUGUSTA – Two people committed to state custody after being found not criminally responsible for slayings in central Maine have won a little more freedom off the grounds of Riverview Psychiatric Center.

The increase in privileges for Karen McCaul and Todd Curry came Friday in Kennebec County Superior Court.

McCaul, 48, had sought permission to be allowed to spend up to eight hours at a stretch on Riverview staff-supervised community activities. She also asked for up to an hour of unsupervised community activities in Augusta.

In 2010, McCaul was found not criminally responsible for stabbing Richard Howe to death in her Skowhegan apartment.

Marian Howe, Howe’s former wife, submitted a one-page statement to the judge before the hearing. The Riverview staff supported McCaul’s requests for an increase in privileges.

McCaul has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, cognitive disorder, polysubstance abuse and paranoid personality disorder, said Pamela S. Miller, a psychiatric nurse practitioner on the unit where McCaul lives.

Dr. William Nelson, a psychiatrist who is Riverview’s chief medical officer, said an increase in off-grounds privileges is designed to help McCaul “improve her ability to act independently.” Dr. Debra Baeder, chief psychologist with the State Forensic Service, recommended a phased-in approach to increased unsupervised time, and random drug testing.

Justice Andrew Horton said he would approve a plan that would enable McCaul to earn her way to an hour of unsupervised, unstructured time in the community.

Horton told Curry he could earn up to four hours of unsupervised time if the activities are specified clearly.

In 2007, Curry was found not criminally responsible for the shooting death of 13-year-old Anthony Tucker, the son of Curry’s girlfriend. A psychologist and a psychiatrist testified that Curry had bipolar disorder and had a profound psychosis Nov. 28, 2006, when he shot Tucker with an assault-type rifle outside their Palmyra home.

 

Kennebec Journal Staff Writer Betty Adams can be contacted at 621-5631 or at:

badams@centralmaine.com