AUGUSTA — Handling and treating patients with mental illness and aggressive behavior has proved challenging for staff at Riverview Psychiatric Center, and occasionally those patients end up being held in the state prison.

For instance, Mark P. Murphy, 47, formerly of York County, pleaded not criminally responsible to charges of elevated aggravated assault in a vicious attack on a mental health worker at Riverview Psychiatric Center in March.

And Anthony Reed, 38, who also has shuttled between the state’s only forensic hospital and Maine State Prison in Warren for the past few years, was found competent earlier this month to stand trail on three assault charges stemming from an April 4, 2012, incident at the hospital.

“If I’m in handcuffs and shackles, I’m not a threat,” Reed testified at a hearing on Aug. 2. He was shackled during the entire hearing. He remains at Riverview.

Reed once served two years in prison for attacking the hospital chaplain.

At an Aug. 13 hearing in Kennebec County Superior Court, Murphy wore more shackles than anyone else in the area of the courtroom set aside for defendants in custody.

Murphy’s blue, button-down work shirt and blue jeans indicated he was a state prison inmate, which appeared to puzzle Justice Michaela Murphy (no relation).

She asked Murphy’s attorney, Charles T. Ferris , whether Murphy was serving a sentence, and he said no, but he was being held at the Maine State Prison.

“He was found not criminally responsible the last time he was in trouble,” Ferris told the judge.

Murphy has a history of assaulting Riverview staff and patients.

On Feb. 1, 2006, Murphy was found not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect of aggravated criminal trespass for breaking into a neighbor’s home in York County in November 2004.

The homeowner shot Murphy in the chest.

For the past seven years, Murphy has been in the custody of the Department of Health & Human Services.

A report to Kennebec County Superior Court by Riverview in April 2007 showed that within six weeks of Murphy’s arrival at the hospital, “he had committed three assaults on staff members, the third assault was nearly fatal.”

Court records also show the hospital reported that Murphy assaulted another patient with a fork on Oct. 9, 2007.

Betty Adams — 621-5631
[email protected]