Tuesday, September 26, 2006 Fentress to remain in facility
Request to go to less-secure hospital denied
By Larry Fisher-Hertz
A former Poughkeepsie schoolteacher who killed and cannibalized a teenager in 1979 must remain in a secure mental hospital for at least two more years.
That was the gist of a decision issued Monday by state Supreme Court Judge James Catterson in the case of 64-year-old Albert Fentress, who is being held at Mid-Hudson Psychiatric Center in Goshen, Orange County.
Fentress, who was a history teacher at Poughkeepsie Middle School, admitted luring 18-year-old Paul Masters, of the Town of Poughkeepsie, into his home on Aug. 19, 1979. He then threatened Masters with a gun, tied him up in his basement and sexually mutilated him before eating some of his body parts. He then shot Masters in the head.
Fentress was found not responsible for the crime by reason of insanity and has been living in mental hospitals ever since. Under state law, he is eligible for release every two years unless a judge decides he is still dangerously mentally ill.
In a hearing before Catterson this summer in the Suffolk County Courthouse in Riverhead, attorneys for the state Attorney General's Office and Dutchess County authorities petitioned the court to keep Fentress confined at the secure hospital.
In his decision, Catterson said testimony by Dr. James Lynch, a psychiatrist called by the Dutchess County District Attorney's Office, had convinced him Fentress should not be released.
"Dr. Lynch testified that (Fentress) continues to exhibit behavior that is therapeutically dangerous and ... has a deep-seated structural abnormality that persists today," Catterson wrote in a three-page decision released Monday afternoon.Witnesses criticized
Catterson was critical of two other psychiatrists, both employed at Mid-Hudson Psychiatric Center, who testified at the hearing this summer. The judge called the testimony of Drs. Khin Myo and Muthaiah Chandrasakara "unconvincing" and said the doctors "appeared to have been unprepared to discuss (Fentress') condition in any detail."
Catterson's ruling means Fentress will remain in the locked mental ward until at least 2008, when he again becomes eligible for release.
Fentress was housed at the Orange County facility from 1980 to 1984, when he was transferred to a less secure facility in Suffolk County.
He was returned to Mid-Hudson in 2002 after two former Poughkeepsie men testified at another hearing before Catterson that Fentress had molested them when they were children.
Catterson said the testimony indicated Fentress was not being truthful during his years of therapy because he had never revealed the incidents to his doctors.
Fentress' attorney, Kim Darrow of Mental Hygiene Legal Services, contended his client had not exhibited any symptoms of mental illness for many years and was no longer a danger to the community.
Dutchess County Senior Assistant District Attorney Edward McLoughlin, who called Dr. Lynch to testify at this summer's hearing, said he was pleased with Catterson's decision.
"Our position has always been that Mr. Fentress' mental issues are so severe and unexplained that it's unsafe for any community to have him released before we know the depths of his mental issues and depravity," McLoughlin said.
Larry Fisher-Hertz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you click the link above you can see a picture of the man... If you click the link below you can see Pravda
's version of the article and their picture ... which is not exactly accurate... I suppose a trigger warning should be issued for that one. U.S. teacher who killed, ate teen must remain in high-security mental ward
Thanks for the support gang.