More Mental Tests Ordered In Fatal Stabbing

The Buffalo News
November 15, 2003

By Matt Gryta

Erie County Judge Shirley Troutman has ordered further examinations of the mental status of an Amherst man facing prison or confinement in a mental hospital for fatally stabbing his mother.

Troutman refused Friday to consider the findings of two members of the staff of the Rochester Forensic Mental Unit who have been treating Jeremy M. Perkins, 28, since early August.

July 29, Perkins pleaded not mentally responsible for killing his mother, Ellie Perkins, 54, whom he stabbed 77 times March 13 in their Hopkins Road home.

Troutman ultimately must decide whether Perkins goes to prison or gets long-term treatment in a guarded mental facility.

She directed acting State Mental Health Commissioner Sharon Carpinello to appoint two forensic psychiatrists to determine whether Perkins is dangerous to himself or others.

Court officials said the judge will conduct a hearing in about a month before ruling on Perkins' placement.

The judge agreed with John R. Nuchereno, Perkins' lawyer, about the questionable professional qualifications of two psychiatric workers treating Perkins.

Nuchereno questioned whether the two have enough experience to competently conduct the forensic psychiatric evaluations required by state criminal law.

Nuchereno forced one of the psychiatric workers to concede that Perkins is only the second patient on whom he has conducted this type of evaluation and that he was testifying in court for the first time in such a case.

Troutman then called Nuchereno and prosecutor Kenneth Forrest Case into chambers and, upon coming out, ordered the additional mental tests for Perkins, who has a history of schizophrenic problems.

Family members had been treating him with vitamins in recent years.

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