KILLER CANNIBAL IS RETURNED TO MAX SECURITY
Albert Fentress, a 61 year old former teacher who confessed to killing a teenager and eating some of his body parts must remain in psychiatric care, a judge ruled. He has been confined to mental hospitals since he was found innocent by reason of insanity in the August 1979 killing of 18-year-old Paul Masters. He confessed to killing Masters after he wandered into Fentress' backyard. He lured him into his basement, tied him to a post, sexually abused and mutilated him and shot him twice in the head before cooking and eating parts of the his body. After contesting a decision to extend his confinement, he was granted a jury trial. Jurors ruled he was no longer a danger to society and should be freed although they found he was mentally ill. State Supreme Court Judge Harry Seidell set the verdict aside. He said, for jurors to believe Fentress was mentally ill but not in need of institutional care, they would have to believe he would somehow, on his own, develop self-control and not pose a danger to others. But, a state judge has ordered a second jury trial for Fentress to determine whether he should be released from Pilgrim State Hospital. State Supreme Court Justice Robert Doyle ruled that he has a clear legal right to have a jury review his mental state and whether he should be set free, despite the order of a Suffolk County Court judge that he be confined to the Brentwood facility until at least 2002. The confessed cannibal gave up his bid to be freed from the Long Island mental hospital after prosecutors accused him of molesting a 10 year old boy just before he killed Masters. Fentress was stunned on the witness stand when Edward McLoughlin, a prosecutor from Dutchess County, where the murder took place, revealed the existence of a secret witness, a 32 year old man ready to testify that Fentress had sexually molested him more than two decades earlier. The victim, who had kids of his own, told authorities he decided to go public because he did not want another child to be victimized by a freed Fentress. Fentress can apply for another hearing to get out in just five months. Since his acquittal, by reason of insanity, he has been moved to Pilgrim Psychiatric Center in Brentwood, Long Island. Although he should be committed to a high-security mental facility instead of his current digs, he has weekend furloughs and unsupervised ground privileges. He was allowed to leave the grounds with a mental-health escort, shop in the local malls, dine in restaurants and walk freely around the facility. During a hearing in a Riverhead courtroom, Dutchess County Assistant District Attorney Edward McLoughlin said Fentress should be recommitted to Mid-Hudson Psychiatric Center because he never told his therapists that he allegedly sexually abused another man before the 1979 murder. As a result, McLoughlin claims, doctors never diagnosed Fentress properly and the treatment he is receiving is insufficient. Fentress has filed a $1.5 million civil suit against the state because officials at the hospital will no longer allow him to attend Catholic Mass and act as a lector, who reads scripture from the altar. His freedom to roam the grounds of the hospital was revoked last year after it was revealed in court about the other victim he molested. Authorities deemed him an escape risk after a hospital worker came forward and said Fentress told her that if he did not win his long-sought freedom in court, he would escape. A judge denied Fentress' request for a temporary restraining order, but has yet to rule on the case. Assistant Attorney General Dennis McElligot said, Mr. Fentress does not have an unfettered right to attend any religious service.
A Poughkeepsie man struggled to testify about the memories of being sexually abused that may have been 24 years old, but they seemed fresh. He recalled being a lonely 11 year old boy, eager to be taught how to play chess by Fentress, who was the faculty adviser to his model-building club at Poughkeepsie Middle School. But the visits at Fentress' home soon had little to do with chess. It started with him tickling me, the man testified in a wavering voice. At some point or another, for some reason he reached into my pants. A four-day hearing concluded on whether to send Fentress to a more secure facility.
Yesterday, Suffolk Supreme Court Justice James M. Catterson sent the confessed cannibal, killer and child molester back to an upstate maximum security mental hospital - saying Fentress had the same chilling, mild-mannered evil as Nazi butcher Adolph Eichmann. The judge's order ended almost 20 years of minimum security care for Fentress. He has been ordered committed to the Mid Hudson Psychiatric Center in upstate Millbrook, a maximum security facility for dangerous patients and the criminally insane.
(Riverhead, New York)
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