Friday, March 7, 2014
By BETTY ADAMS Kennebec Journal
AUGUSTA – A patient at Riverview Psychiatric Center allegedly attacked a 26-year-old mental health worker, punching her, striking her with his hands and stabbing her with a pen before a second patient came to her rescue.
The attack last Saturday is described in an affidavit filed in Kennebec County Superior Court to support assault charges against Mark Murphy, 47, formerly of York County, a Riverview patient with a history of unprovoked attacks on staff.
Capitol Police Sgt. Robert Elliot said Murphy apologized to the woman, then assaulted her "by punching and striking her with his hands and a pen."
The woman curled up on the floor and tried to protect her head with her hands. The attack continued until the second patient tackled Murphy to the floor, Elliot said.
The assistance appears to have come from Kirk Lambert, 32, of Augusta, a Riverview patient who is listed as a witness on Elliot's police affidavit. Lambert was found not criminally responsible for a robbery in 2000 and had recently been returned to the hospital from an apartment in Augusta where he was living.
The victim was treated at MaineGeneral Medical Center for injuries to her arms, face and hand, and she had surgery to remove the tip of a pen from her hand, Elliot said.
Murphy was arrested Wednesday and charged with two counts of elevated aggravated assault and with aggravated assault.
Murphy, who is being held at the Kennebec County jail in Augusta, appeared subdued at his initial court appearance Friday via video in Augusta District Court.
Wearing an orange jail uniform over a white, long-sleeved shirt, the 6-foot-1, 210-pound Murphy was in handcuffs and closely guarded by two corrections officers.
His case was heard separately from the other 11 inmates on the in-custody list.
A corrections officer at the Kennebec County jail told the judge that Murphy was being brought down separately "for safety and security reasons." The video hearing room was cleared of all other inmates before Murphy was escorted in.
Murphy was represented at the hearing by attorney Lisa Whittier.
She suggested that Judge Beth Dobson appoint attorney J. Mitchell Flick to represent Murphy on the criminal charges because Flick represents him in proceedings involving conditions under which Murphy is held at Riverview.
Murphy said only, "Yes," when Dobson asked if that was acceptable to him. Dobson set his bail at $25,000, with several conditions.
Kennebec County District Attorney Maeghan Maloney previously described the woman's injuries as horrible. "You wouldn't think of a pen as a deadly weapon," she said.
Murphy had attacked staff members and a fellow patient 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 in a break-in at a neighbor's home in York County in November 2004. In 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 and Human Services.
A Superior Court judge has had to sign off on incremental steps that allow him some supervised time off hospital grounds.
A Riverview report to Kennebec County Superior Court in April 2007 said 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."
Court records also show the hospital reported that Murphy assaulted another patient with a fork on Oct. 9, 2007.
Betty Adams can be reached at 621-5631 or at: