13 Who Used Insanity Defense Remain Incarcerated NANCY WEST Union Leader [Manchester NH] July 23, 1990
13 Who Used Insanity Defense Remain Incarcerated
CONCORD - A Pembroke man committed to the state mental hospital in 1977
for murdering his wife is living outside the facility under parole
supervision, but most such patients are held without the freedom to
leave the grounds unescorted, officials said.
Larry Overlock, 46, of Pembroke, who was committed Dec. 14, 1977, for
the murder of his wife, Lois, by stabbing her in the head and body, is
living in the community, but officials won't say where. Overlock is
under the supervision of the Division of Parole and has to meet
bi-weekly with his mental health counselor. Few of the people committed
as innocent by reason of insanity have off-grounds privileges, according
to information released Friday by the Department of Corrections.
The state has to petition the courts every two to five years to have
them recommitted and must prove they are still mentally ill and
dangerous or they must be released.
When corrections took over responsibility for the
innocent-by-reason-of-insanity population five years ago, there were 19
people incarcerated. Six have since been released.
Changes in state laws and public attitudes make it unlikely the number
will dramatically increase, according to Michael Brown, staff attorney
for the Department of Corrections.
Since the 1970s, the pendulum has swung conservatively in New Hampshire
in the courts, corrections and the law, to keep people committed on
insanity pleas from early release and from having off-grounds
privileges, Brown said.
The Ernest Therrien case also played a significant role in changing attitudes.
Therrien was convicted of murdering Helen Ring in her Concord home in
1985 after being conditionally released from the state mental hospital
two years before.
Therrien had been in the forensic unit since being found innocent by
reason of insanity in the 1976 killing of his 6-year-old cousin.
''I think that the commissioner has been very conservative in his
approach to recommending off-ground privileges and the courts are more
conservative also,'' Brown said.
The following is an update on the state's innocent-by-reason-of-insanity
population provided by the Department of Corrections. The New
Hampshire Hospital is a low security, open campus complex on Pleasant
Street in Concord and the secure psychiatric unit is a tight-security
facility at the state prison.
* William Daily, 41, sentenced Nov. 15, 1976 for second-degree murder.
He is living at New Hampshire Hospital with 12 hours a week of escorted
* Harlan Robb, 46, of Lebanon, committed for second-degree murder on
Dec. 20, 1973, is in the state prison minimum security unit and has
off-grounds privileges only under escort of corrections officers.
* Roy Drew, 45, of Tamworth, was committed for second-degree murder on
May 26, 1975. He lives in New Hampshire Hospital with escorted
* Jeffrey P. Westcott, 57, of Haverhill, Mass., committed April 11,
1979 for the second-degree murder of his 3-year-old son. He is at the
New Hampshire Hospital. The state will try to recommit him at a hearing
in Concord tomorrow. He has one half-hour of unescorted privileges in
building, plus unescorted to work on grounds and escorted off-ground
* James Crawford, 42, of Laconia, was committed for aggravated felonious
sexual assault on July 9, 1980 and is at the secure psychiatric unit
with no off-ground privileges.
* Richard Shute, 37, of Rochester, was sentenced May 2, 1989 for
aggravated felonious sexual assault, felonious sexual assault and
kidnapping. He is in the secure psychiatric unit with no off-ground
* Richard Indola, 33, no address available, was committed for
first-degree assault on May 19, 1983. He is in the secure psychiatric
unit with no off-grounds privileges.
* Lenny Hatch, 62, of Portsmouth, was committed for lewd and lacivious
acts on Oct. 10, 1966 and is living in New Hampshire Hospital with
escorted off-ground privileges.
* Wellington Webb, 53, of Milford, was committed for second-degree
assault on Feb. 28, 1984 and is at the secure psychiatric unit with no
* Milton Page, 48, of Melvin Village, was committed Sept. 28, 1987 for
arson and is in the secure psychiatric unit with no off-ground
* David Mercier, 32, of Ward Hill, Mass., was committed for robbery on
May 16, 1984 and now lives in a Manchester halfway house. He has a job
and has three hours per week of unescorted off-grounds privileges in the
* Martin Cronin, 29, of Manchester was committed for attempted assault
on June 11, 1986 and lives in the secure psychiatric unit with no