AUGUSTA — A Riverview Psychiatric Center outpatient who was shot by police two years ago when he threatened others with a knife has gained a judge’s permission to begin the process of moving from the state hospital for the mentally ill to a supervised apartment or group home in the community.

Jason Begin, 39, who is suing the Augusta police officer who shot him, had sought a modification of conditions under which he is held in state custody.

He was placed in the custody of the commissioner of the Department of Health and Human Services in 2004 after being found not criminally responsible for theft of an airplane and violating conditions of release. He crash-landed the plane in 2003 in Canada in an apparent failed suicide attempt while he was facing charges of sexually assaulting family members.

Begin’s was one of a number of petitions for modified release considered Friday at the Capital Judicial Center. His, like others, was approved without a hearing after attorneys for the state and the petitioners presented negotiated agreements to Justice Paul A. Fritzsche.

Begin did not come into the courtroom. Instead, he remained outside it with a number of other Riverview patients and staff members.

On Friday, Matthew Bowe, who represents Begin in the Riverview proceedings in state court as well as in the federal lawsuit, said, “The major modification is that he’s allowed to go to a supervised apartment if the outpatient services team approves.”

Bowe noted that Begin is allowed to work and has other privileges under an order issued by a different judge in 2013.

Other expanded privileges include authorizations for “unsupervised community time” — up to two hours for travel to educational, sex offender and substance abuse treatment; up to four hours for shopping and recreation; and up to six hours in the community if he is supervised by approved members of his family.

“These are to be incrementally implemented,” said Assistant District Attorney Carie James, representing the state. “He’s at Riverview, so these will be baby steps to him.”

Before returning to the state hospital in Augusta, Begin was in a group home in Windsor, receiving outpatient services through Riverview.

Begin previously sought to be free from state supervision. However, a judge rejected that, and the state supreme court last year upheld that decision.

An attorney representing Begin in that appeal, Rory McNamara, wrote in his brief that “(Begin) suffers from a dislike of Riverview, not a mental disease or defect.” He also said Begin recalls “being sexually and physically assaulted at, at least, three different institutions.”

Maine Supreme Judicial Court Associate Justice Ellen Gorman, in writing that court’s decision, outlined Begin’s diagnoses: “schizophrenia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, major depressive disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, mixed developmental disorder, bipolar affective disorder, evasive developmental disorder, Asperger’s syndrome, borderline mental retardation, major depressive disorder, pedophilia, cannabis abuse, and personality disorder not otherwise specified.”

Begin had lived at Riverview for more than nine years before getting court permission in the fall of 2013 to move to a supervised group home in Augusta.

In January 2015 Begin began stabbing himself with a knife and threatened to hurt others when a Riverview outpatient team told him he was being returned to the hospital during an investigation into a report that he had used marijuana and sold it to someone. At the time, Begin had been in supervised housing in Augusta and working at a retail store.

Augusta police Officer Laura Drouin, who had responded to a call from a Riverview outpatient team for assistance in returning Begin to the hospital, shot Begin three times — twice in the chest and once in the shoulder.

Begin spent five weeks hospitalized at MaineGeneral Medical Center for treatment of his wounds. The state attorney general concluded that Drouin’s action was justified.

Begin, through attorneys Bradford Pattershall and Matthew Bowe, sued Drouin and the city of Augusta over the incident. Begin is suing for $2.5 million, maintaining that the gunshot wounds left him with a permanently paralyzed left arm.

So far, the magistrate judge handling the case granted summary judgment in favor of the city but denied it for the officer. Drouin had claimed she was entitled to qualified immunity, which would shield her from civil liability for her actions, as well as the Fourth Amendment claim that she used excessive force. She appealed that ruling, and a notice of appeal was sent to the U.S. 1st Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston in May 2017.

Attorney Edward Benjamin Jr., who represents Drouin, said Thursday that nothing has happened with that appeal since he responded to a “show-cause” order from the federal appeals court.

Bowe said Friday he wants the claims against Drouin to be heard by a jury.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams

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