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UPDATED: Man arrested in Western State Hospital slaying expected in court today

Post by Stacey Mulick / The News Tribune on April 23, 2012 at 6:29 am with 11 Comments »
April 23, 2012 2:31 pm

UPDATED at 2 p.m.

A 40-year-old patient from Western State Hospital made his first court appearance today in the slaying of a fellow patient Friday afternoon.

Prosecutors decided to hold the man for 72 hours while the investigation continues. The man was ordered held in Pierce County Jail in lieu of $1 million on suspicion of second-degree murder. His arraignment is scheduled for Wednesday.

First responders were called to Western State about 3 p.m. Friday. They found Paul Montefusco, 28, dead in another patient’s room.

The 40-year-old patient who lived in the room was discovered hiding in another room nearby. He was arrested and reportedly confessed to the slaying.

An autopsy on Montefusco was scheduled for later today.

No information has been released about why the victim and suspect were at Western State and for how long. Thomas Shapley, spokesman for the state Department of Social and Health Services, said patient privacy and mental health laws prohibit the department from releasing information about the patients.

He did say both men had been civilly committed to the hospital’s civil unit. They were not in the hospital’s Center for Forensic Services, which houses patients who have been charged with crimes and are undergoing court-ordered mental health evaluations as well patients found not guilty by reason of insanity.

The forensic center is a locked, more secured unit. Those in the civil unit have a little more freedom. Patients can earn privileges and be able to walk the grounds or be out in the community.

“In the civil side, it’s very much individual related,” Shapley said.

Some patients cone voluntarily. Others are civilly committed by a court because of a mental health diagnosis, Shapley said.

Hospital CEO Jess Jamieson issued a statement over the weekend, calling the homicide “a tragic unexpected incident.”

“A  tragic death at our facility is extremely rare and we will do everything possible to prevent a similar occurrence,” the statement read. “Western State Hospital holds the safety of our patients, employees and the community as its highest priority.  Almost twenty years have passed since something similar occurred at the State’s largest psychiatric hospital.”

Leave a comment Comments → 11
  1. My guess,
    A waste of court time!
    Look ware the guy`s at!

  2. rebelready says:

    SHOCKING that the genuinely helpful non-toxic medication they dole out didn’t work– well at least big pharm didn’t suffer. Sorry folks but the criminally insane are running the asylum. Absolutely no observation period when these people arrive from the jail and with no physical work up they immediately start shoving mind altering drugs down the patient’s face; even when they have been told that the drugs they are administering have had a negative effect on the patient in the past as well as contraindications to the med by the patient’s medical and family history they continue to give the meds. The FACT that these providers quite apparently do not assess or even worse just ignore the aforementioned is beyond egregious. As the effects of the drugs start to take place agitated affects emerge and behavior changes for the negative but they keep giving and adding more drugs so that in the end there is absolutely no chance of the person attaining competency to stand trial. The office of assigned counsel ensures no due process as they collect their salary provided by the tax payer and then promote a process that consist of habitual stalling, and then a corrupt judge orders the patient be given toxic meds beyond any legislative authority or appropriate due process. In my opinion there is profit for the corrupt at the end of this psychedelic rainbow. The first rule of psychiatry is RULE OUT any PHYSICAL CAUSE but they prefer to warehouse and push toxic drugs. A subpoena needs served to these inappropriate and actually dangerous psychiatrists, and drug company affiliation needs to be discovered. FED Court unfortunately then lets an incompetent corrupt law clerk answer any petition for habeas corpus where significant rights violations are ignored and well established law is twisted so that these human rights and Constitutional Rights violators and the corrupt scheme can merrily carry on. America is gone!!

  3. edynrhonda says:

    rebelready should learn what he’s talking about before saying anything. Patients at Western State Hospital are given physical exams prior to starting medications and adverse reactions to medications are taken very seriously. I don’t personally know either of these patients (and I suspect rebelready doesn’t know them either) but I suspect the alleged perpetrator’s mental illness led to his actions, not his medications.

  4. alindasue says:

    I have feeling he’s going to be moved to the “Center for Forensic Services” unit soon, if he hasn’t been already.

  5. rebelready says:

    @ednrhonda sorry but you are mistaken! Nice that the paper updated and cleaned up it’s public trashing of the victim that was printed earlier. How many of those on the civil side started out on the forensic side where they were medicated into a state that ensured a determination that they would be unable to participate in their defense and then transferred over to the civil side after they served out their sentence on the forensic side–let’s tell the whole story.

    RCW 10.77.025

    Maximum term of commitment or treatment.

    (1) Whenever any person has been: (a) Committed to a correctional facility or inpatient treatment under any provision of this chapter; or (b) ordered to undergo alternative treatment following his or her acquittal by reason of insanity of a crime charged, such commitment or treatment cannot exceed the maximum possible penal sentence for any offense charged for which the person was committed, or was acquitted by reason of insanity.

    (2) Whenever any person committed under any provision of this chapter has not been released within seven days of the maximum possible penal sentence under subsection (1) of this section, and the professional person in charge of the facility believes that the person presents a likelihood of serious harm or is gravely disabled due to a mental disorder, the professional person shall, prior to the expiration of the maximum penal sentence, notify the appropriate *county designated mental health professional of the impending expiration and provide a copy of all relevant information regarding the person, including the likely release date and shall indicate why the person should not be released.

    (3) A *county designated mental health professional who receives notice and records under subsection (2) of this section shall, prior to the date of the expiration of the maximum sentence, determine whether to initiate proceedings under chapter 71.05 RCW.< civil committment

  6. Odysseus says:

    Hey wait a minute…Wasn’t there a story a few weeks ago about a psychologist doctor there and the Pierce County prosecutor saying that the public was endangered by his work…?

    Was either of these two patients evaluated by him on the “Forensic side” and then declared incompetent and sent to the “Civil side?”

  7. Odysseus says:

    We’ll just have to see if there is any correlation

  8. rebelready says:

    There is at least one Class A Feloney involved AND there is no physical work up nor consideration of adverse reactions or observation period before they start administering antipsychotics on the forensic side–there is not even anyone with prescriptive authority making the determination that the evaluation and restoration should take place with a judge usurping the law and writing orders to give meds before the person is even seen by a psychiatrist. These psychiatrist think because they have a judicial order that the order trumps clinical common sense and that they have to give the meds. It’s like your smart phone sending a message that you never intended–not so smart!!

  9. Odysseus, maybe this is someone you evaluated?

  10. rebelready says:

    One paper pprints,”Both men were non-criminal patients in the civil commitment ward at the mental hospital.” But the news people need to get together and get the story straight cause another paper is reporting a criminal record on both and it is looking like the dead man failed restoration to competency with a resulting civil committment. Although a bit of a language play was used to apparently mask the issue the other source printed, “The case was later dismissed after Montefusco was found to be ineligible for treatment to restore competency in order to stand trial, according to the records. He was to undergo a mental-health evaluation for possible civil commitment. It is unclear when he was admitted as a patient.” Uh that restore competency issue would have happened over on the forensic side where they force antipsychotics and render you more incompetent than when you arrived. Apparently he got the death penality for trespassing. Just saying!!

  11. Odysseus says:


    I couldn’t say with reasonable certainty…

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