AUGUSTA — A judge on Tuesday approved proposals to reduce supervision of two people committed to state custody after being found not criminally responsible for killing a family member.

Almost three years ago, a judge ruled Enoch Petrucelly of Palmyra was delusional when he stabbed his brother to death on North Haven island. He was found not criminally responsible by reason of insanity and committed to state custody in July 2009.

Now, treatment providers and evaluators at the state’s Riverview Psychiatric Center say Petrucelly, 26, has recovered enough to seek a part-time job off hospital grounds.

Justice Michaela Murphy approved the proposal during a hearing Tuesday in Kennebec County Superior Court.

But Murphy limited his off-hospital time to six hours a day and 24 hours a week, telling him he has to decide how to apportion his time.

“The first priority is treatment,” Murphy said. “It has only been three years since this event. I want to make sure your treatment remains the No. 1 priority in your life, at least until the next time you come back (to court).”

Individuals committed to the custody of the commission of mental health must petition the court to seek changes in conditions under which they are held. They are permitted to petition as often as every six months, but rarely do so.

Murphy set the limits on Petrucelly after Debra Baeder, a psychologist with the State Forensic Service, which does evaluations for the court, said she would limit Petrucelly’s time away from the hospital to 24 hours a week.

“Mr. Petrucelly is a bright man,” Baeder said. “Work or education would be very therapeutic.”

Petrucelly is also allowed to visit his family home in Palmyra up to twice a month.

In a separate hearing, Murphy approved a proposal allowing Tonia Kigas Porter to reduce her contact with community treatment providers and with her psychiatrist.

Porter, who was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia when she starved her 5-year-old daughter to death in Bangor in 1993, has made “remarkable progress,” according to Ann LeBlanc, psychologist and director of the State Forensic Service.

“Her condition in 1993 was grossly different than it is today,” LeBlanc testified. She said Porter, who works and lives in the community, has received excellent care from hospital staff, has been strongly committed to changing and collaborates with the treatment team.

“She doesn’t hesitate to call if she needs a hand,” LeBlanc said. “Over many years, she has demonstrated good things as well as immunity to stressors.”

She said decreasing Porter’s contact with support staff and visiting a psychiatrist once is month is more reflective of conditions that would occur when Porter is eventually released from the custody of the commissioner.

Deputy Attorney General William Stokes said he, too, supported the change. “The improvement is nothing short of remarkable from the time I first met her,” Stokes said.

Murphy approved the proposal, concluding public safety would not be at risk.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]


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