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Superior Court Declares Joel Beaulieu Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity

Attorney General Peter Kilmartin today commented on the decision by Rhode Island Superior Court Justice Melanie W. Thunberg finding Joel Beaulieu not guilty by reason of insanity in the September 4, 2010 stabbing death of his father and assault of his mother.

"Although there is no question that Joel Beaulieu is factually responsible for the horrific acts which took the life of his father and seriously injured his mother, the Court has found the defendant not guilty by reason of insanity. The State respects this decision and in light of the facts and medical diagnosis, I believe justice has been served," said Attorney General Kilmartin.

The defense stipulated to the facts that in the late evening hours of September 4, 2010, Joel Beaulieu stabbed his mother and father. Conrad Beaulieu died as a result of the injuries and Diane Beaulieu suffered serious injuries. The defense expert witness, Dr. Barry Wall, testified that Beaulieu suffers from schizoaffective disorder, and as such, was not capable of appreciating the wrongfulness of his conduct or to conform his conduct to the requirements of the law at the time he committed the crime. The state's expert witness, Dr. William Land, concurred with Dr. Wall's diagnosis.

"This is a tragic story of two loving parents who tried to protect their only son from his own mental illness and get him the help he needed. It is a tragic story of a young man locked inside his mind unable to function in reality. It is a story of a loving mother who forgives her son for his unthinkable actions. Just as she was there for her son as he struggled with his disease, Mrs. Beaulieu has courageously stood by her son through the trial. I greatly admire her strength, grace, and compassion she has shown through this very difficult process," added Attorney General Kilmartin. "I would also like to recognize the efforts of the Tiverton Police Department, in particular Detective Sergeant Mike Miguel, Detective Michael Carr and Detective Brendon McKinnon for leading the investigation."

When a defendant is found not guilty by reason of insanity, legal mechanisms are in place to assure the public's safety. Although the criminal case has ended, commitment to the State hospital is required and ordered. The law requires that the court order a defendant adjudged not guilty by reason of insanity committed, for the purpose of observation and examination to determine whether the person is dangerous.

Once committed, the director of the state department Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals (BHDDH) will, within 20 days, prepare and file with the court a report stating his/her opinion of whether, because of mental disability the person's unsupervised presence in the community will create a likelihood of serious harm.

Once the required report is filed and with notice to the Attorney General and counsel, the court shall hold a hearing where the BHDDH Director's report shall be introduced. If, after hearing, the court finds the individual dangerous then the court shall commit the individual to BHDDH for care and treatment as an inpatient in a public institution. The individual shall not be paroled, furloughed, placed on out-patient status or otherwise released, except upon petition to the court by the BHDDH Director and an order of the court.

Assistant Attorney General Daniel Carr Guglielmo prosecuted the case on behalf of the Office of Attorney General.

Related links

Department or agency: Department of the Attorney General

Online: http://www.riag.ri.gov/

Release date: 12-16-2011

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