AUGUSTA — Paul Orchard, found not criminally responsible eight months ago for sexually assaulting and killing his mother-in-law in front of his 6-year-old daughter, won privileges Friday to go into the community in the Augusta area supervised by staff at Riverview Psychiatric Center.

Orchard was charged in the Oct. 11, 2014, killing of Paula Nuttall, 57, in the family’s home in Peru. An autopsy determined that Nuttall died of cardiac arrest during strangulation.

Orchard, now 35, maintained he was on a vapor high from refinishing floors, and he was naked and covered in polyurethane when authorities arrived at the home the family shared.

The 911 call for help from Nuttall was played during a hearing Friday at the Capital Judicial Center, as Mexico Police Lt. Dan Carrier sat on the witness stand.

On it, a woman’s voice screams, “Get out of here. Get out of here.”

Then she repeats, “Oh my God. Oh, my God. Oh, my God,” as the 911 officer asks questions, but gets no response.

A child’s voice says, “Daddy, please stop it. Daddy, stop it, please stop it. Daddy, no.”

The screaming continues and a dog barks throughout the recording.

Justice Joyce Wheeler stopped the 13-minute recording after about six minutes, saying she had heard enough to determine the severity of the crime.

As the tape played, Nuttall’s family members, seated on benches in the rear of the small courtroom, wiped their tears with tissues and held onto one another.

The judge also read from a victim impact statement submitted by Nuttall’s older brother, Edmund Morrissey of Weymouth, Massachusetts, who described Orchard as “a highly intelligent and cunning individual. He knows all the right things to say and all the right things to do. They have released him time after time, resulting in relapse.”

Outside the courthouse, Morrissey said that when he first met Orchard, “I thought he was a little odd, but I never once thought he was dangerous.”

Morrissey and others objected to Orchard having any time outside the state hospital.

“If I had my way, there would be a four-foot room and him and me,” Morrissey said. “Unfortunately we can’t have that.”

David Nuttall, Paula Nuttall’s son, said that two weeks before his mother’s death, Orchard tried to convince him there was no such thing as mental illness.

Morrissey said Nuttall’s daughter and son and others live in the greater Augusta area and don’t want him in the community.

Healthcare providers on the forensic unit at Riverview and the director of the state forensic service testified in favor of giving Orchard supervised time in the community.

Assistant Attorney General Kent Avery, representing the state, argued against giving Orchard any form of supervised release outside the hospital.

“We feel it’s too soon,” Avery said.

He specified three areas of concern, telling the judge that Orchard was psychotic 18 months ago, has hypersexuality issues that included grabbing the arm of a woman working at the hospital in December 2014 and refusing to let go, and has substance abuse problems.

“He does not seem to be an appropriate individual to be out in public,” Avery said, adding that it appeared to be questionable whether one staff member would be able to control Orchard.

This is the first petition Orchard has filed seeking privileges. Patients such as Orchard, who are held in the custody of the Commissioner of the Department of Health and Human Services, must seek changes in their conditions via the courts.

Wheeler heard testimony from a physician’s assistant who works with Orchard, a psychiatrist and a forensic psychologist, all of whom supported Orchard’s request to spend up to six hours in the community under supervision for at least an initial 30 days with a one-to-one ratio of supervision and later as a member of a small group — three patients or fewer — supervised by one hospital staff member.

Orchard was brought into the courtroom in handcuffs and escorted by uniformed sheriff’s deputies. Most times, petitioners are not in handcuffs and are accompanied by social workers or other treatment providers from the hospital.

Orchard’s attorney, J. Mitchell Flick, said he was told there had been some threats made against Orchard, and so he was brought over in custody for his own safety.

Ann LeBlanc, a forensic psychologist and director of the State Forensic Service, which evaluates patients for the court, testified, “I believe the likelihood of (Orchard) causing harm to himself or anyone else is minimal.”

She said that if he began to deteriorate mentally, it would be evident.

“Mr. Orchard’s symptoms when he has them are not subtle,” she said, adding that when he’s floridly manic he imagines himself a fire god or god, creates and invents things and believes people are stealing his money through the Internet.

Zachary Smith, a physician’s assistant at the hospital, testified that Orchard could benefit by being allowed out in small groups initially, but the hospital recommended one-to-one supervision in “an abundance of caution” because of the nature of the crime.

In delivering her decision from the bench, Wheeler said she had a number of concerns about Orchard’s “fairly brittle bipolar” diagnosis, his substance abuse, his hypersexuality, his medication regimen and concerns about the impact on the community he was asking to enter into. However, she added, “If we don’t start treating him in the community, we’re going to find ourselves with our hands tied at some point.”

She said she granted the privilege after understanding, through LeBlanc’s testimony, the scrutiny at Riverview which Orchard would undergo both before and after each time he is in the community, and that the concerns would be much larger if he were seeking unsupervised time.

As she began to read the restrictions she was placing on Orchard’s community time, three members of Nuttall’s family walked out of the courtroom.

Wheeler said she would permit him to be in the community for up to six hours at a time with one-to-one supervision by a member of Riverview staff for six months.

“After six months of successful utilization of privileges, it can be increased to one small group,” Wheeler said.

She said the community activities are limited to Augusta and within 10 miles of the capital city. She said there can be only one outing per day, and it cannot interfere with treatment and administration of medication.

“This is a privilege, and violation of it could result in the court revoking the privilege,” Wheeler said directly to Orchard, who said he understood.

Orchard did not testify during the hearing.

Wheeler also prohibited him from contact with the victim’s family.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams

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