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Articles from Vallejo Times-Herald on Napa State Hospital
- collected by Wayne Morin Jr , Dec 15, 2005
(Posted here by Wes Penre: Dec 28, 2005)


The Manor at Napa State Hospital
Napa State Manor

Murder conviction appealed

Vacaville man sentenced to 26 years for beating, strangling man
By ROBERT McCOCKRAN, Times-Herald staff writer
Vallejo Times Herald

A Napa attorney has filed a notice of appeal in connection with a Vacaville man, who was convicted of killing his roommate at Napa State Hospital.

A representative of Napa attorney Mervin Lernhart, said the notice was filed Nov. 17 in Napa County Superior Court. Lernhart represented Anthony Gore at the trial. Lernhart's aide said family members of Gore have hired a private attorney to write the appeal.

That was confirmed by Gore's mother, Gert Cooley, who said Vallejo attorney Tim Pori has been hired.

Gore, 43, was sentenced to 26 years to life in prison following a Sept. 8, conviction for first-degree murder.

The victim, Dennis Wagner, 49, was found dead in his bed on May 3, 2002. The District Attorney's Office reported he had been beaten and strangled.

The same jury determined that Gore was sane at the time of the killing - even though he had been living in a mental institution for three years.

In a recent telephone interview, Cooley said Gore doesn't remember anything about the incident.

Just a week-and-a-half before Wagner was killed, Gore was on a "five-point restraint (for about seven days) because he attacked another patient because he was hearing the voices again and he thought the patient was going to do something to his daughter." She said Gore was released from the restraint because hospital personnel felt he was OK.

A hospital spokeswoman said she could not disclose any information.

"I cannot confirm or deny whether an individual was a patient here at the hospital," said Lupe Rincon, the public information officer at Napa State Hospital. "We're bound by laws of confidentiality."

Gore had also gone on a hunger strike and lost a lot of weight, Cooley said. He was supposed to meet with a psychologist and a social worker about his difficulties, but the killing occurred several days before his scheduled appointment.

Cooley said her son was at Napa State Hospital because he hit a man with a beer bottle. She said "the voices told him to attack him because he was trying to attack his family."

Gore was diagnosed as schizophrenic paranoid, deemed not guilty by reason of insanity and sentenced to four years at Napa or until he was declared suitable for release, Cooley said.

She said the trial should have been moved to another county and that the jury of

11 white women, and mostly elderly people, was not a jury of his peers. Gore is African American.

Cooley said the defense will push for a DNA examination of the blood found on Gore's shirt and pants (which Cooley described as about the size of a dime) to determine if it's his. She said he had a cut on his index finger.

Deputy District Attorney Gary Van Camp said Gore had been selling drugs inside the hospital and, apparently, fronted the victim a marijuana cigarette.

"The victim didn't pay him back. He told a few people he was going to get him for it - waited until he was asleep in bed and killed him," Van Camp said.

Regarding the outcome of the sanity phase, Van Camp said Gore had to know right from wrong and appreciate what he was doing when he acted.

"They had one expert that said he was insane and we had at least two expert witnesses plus others that said he did know what he was doing," Van Camp said.

"It sounds unusual when you first hear about it. But we're prosecuting a lot of cases out of there now. They're taking in a lot more dangerous people in our state hospital. We have something like 900 patients now behind the fence in a secure treatment area over there," he said.

"A certain percentage of these people are kind of faking their way through the system and avoiding prison sentences in other counties by claiming that they're mentally ill and insane. And then they get into the state hospital and kind of like run the show over there - beat up staff and beat up other patients, stab people and various things," he said.

Van Camp said it was his understanding that Gore landed in the Napa State Hospital after attacking a woman at a restaurant.

"My feeling is, he's going to do fine in state prison. He seemed to kind of want to go there," Van Camp said.

Cooley said her son is in San Quentin's reception area in "medical segregation because of his condition."

- Robert McCockran can be reached at 553-6829 or at robertm@thnewsnet.com

Judge rules Pascual must remain under hospital care

Times-Herald staff report
Vallejo Times Herald

A Solano County judge ruled Friday that Jason Pascual is not "in remission" and represents a danger to himself and other. The judge ordered him to remain at Napa State Hospital for at least another year.

Pascual, 30, played a minor role in a series of local bomb incidents in 1996 that landed several men in jail. Pascual got credit for time served, which came to between three and four years. The alleged ringleader, Kevin Robinson, drew 8 years on his plea of no contest to explosives charges, but was ultimately sentenced to 110 years on drug charges because of the state's three strikes law.

Pascual, who served his sentence in a mental hospital, violated his parole by stealing from a Radio Shack. He was incarcerated for nine months and then sent to a mental facility.

At the session Tuesday, a psychologist testified that Pascual suffers from personality change aggressive type - the result of injuries he sustained in a vehicle accident when he was 15.

The psychologist said since August Pascual has been punished for yelling and threatening staff at Napa State Hospital.

Pascual's attorney, Deputy Public Defender Claudelle Miller, said the psychologists said Pascual needs to remain free of such incidents for four to six months. "He's not there yet."

On Friday, Judge D. Scott Daniels recommended that Pascual's commitment be extended to Oct. 5.

Miller said the judge indicated Pascual is making progress and is hopeful that the next time a continued involuntary treatment hearing is held he'll be released.

Convicted Vallejo bomber returns to court to determine mental status

By RACHEL RASKIN-ZRIHEN, Times-Herald staff writer
Vallejo Times Herald

Nearly a decade after being involved in a series of Vallejo bombings, Jason Pascual was again in court Tuesday as the state tries to keep him in a mental hospital.

In a hearing to determine if Pascual's commitment to Napa State Hospital should be extended, a psychologist testified that Pascual has a mental illness that makes him dangerous, based on an August evaluation. The hearing will continue Friday.

Pascual, now 30, was one of six men convicted of bombing the Vallejo courthouse and an automated teller machine in 1996. A backpack containing another bomb was discovered by some children just outside Vallejo's John F. Kennedy Library where the police department's evidence section was housed.

Pascual was a minor player in the bombings, and was sentenced to time served in a mental hospital, about 312 years. But shortly after his release, he was arrested for stealing from a Radio Shack store, his defense attorney said. The parole violation netted him a nine-month sentence. Just before being released, he was sent to a mental facility, his attorney said.

Dressed in a khaki-colored Napa hospital inmate uniform Tuesday, Pascual was permitted to have his arm restraints removed at the hearing. He sat quietly beside Claudelle Miller, his state-appointed lawyer, his shoulder-length hair braided neatly and his black eye patch partially obscured by gold-rimmed glasses.

This type of mental hospital commitment must be reviewed annually, Miller said, adding this would be Pascual's second extension.

Kevin Robinson, the bombings' purported "mastermind," is serving a 110-year sentence on drug charges, with an added eight years for pleading guilty to possessing explosives in connection with the conspiracy. Authorities at the time said they believed the bombings were meant to destroy evidence to prevent Robinson's trial on drug and weapons charges from going forward because a conviction would have meant a third strike for Robinson.

No one was hurt in the incidents, but investigators located 60 prepared dynamite sticks in a car parked outside an apartment complex and 500 pounds of dynamite at the home of one of the suspect's relatives.

Also arrested in connection with the bombings were Francis Donald Ernestberg, who was sentenced to 23 years in prison; Oston Granville Osotonu, who got 26 years in prison; his brother Ivan Army Osotonu received six months in county jail; and Orlando Johnson, six years in prison.

Pascual, then 22, was sent by court order to the Atascadero State Hospital on the recommendation of two psychiatrists.

Katz said Tuesday that Pascual suffers from "personality change aggressive type," a result of hitting his head in a car crash when he was 15, the same accident Miller said cost him his eye. Katz said Pascual's mental illness was not in remission when he evaluated him in August.

Katz described several incidents over those months, including yelling and making verbal threats against staff. Punishment usually involved "no more than a day or two" in a locked isolation room.

Miller said the state's experts, all current or former Napa hospital staff members, will likely testify that Pascual's mental illness makes him a danger to others. Miller said she doesn't think he's dangerous, and will fight to get him released.

"He's been in the hospital for about two years," Miller said. "We don't feel he's a danger and I feel he should be home, living with his parents. He says he wants to get a job, and I think he's capable of getting and holding a good job."

- E-mail Rachel Raskin-Zrihen at RachelZ@thnewsnet.com or call 553-6824.

These articles were collected by the excellent researcher, Wayne Morin Jr. Please listen to him LIVE on Channel Z from November 30, 2005: "18 Years in Mental Hospital". Wes Penre

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Last Updated:
Wednesday, December 28, 2005 04:17:09 AM

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