Attorney General Peter Kilmartin today commented on the decision by Rhode Island Superior Court Justice Brian P. Stern finding David Allison (age 36), of Providence, RI, not guilty by reason of insanity for the September 1, 2015 murder of Elba Feliciano and the assault with intent to commit the murder of Maria Feliciano and Adriana Figueroa.
"The Court's decision finding the defendant not guilty by reason of insanity may not provide the type of justice Elba's family and friends would have preferred and expected, but it is my hope they take some solace knowing the defendant will be committed to the State hospital, unable to hurt another person," said Attorney General Kilmartin.
The defense did not contest the facts that during the evening of September 1, 2015, David Allison broke into the residence of Maria Feliciano and stabbed her, Adriana Figueroa, and Elba Feliciano, who died as a result of the injuries she sustained. During the jury-waived trial in September, defense expert Dr. Patricia Recupero testified that the defendant was suffering from schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder at the time he committed the crime.
In the Court's decision, Justice Stern found that, by a fair preponderance of the evidence, the "Defendant's mental disability resulted in a substantial impairment of his capacity to the point where Defendant could not appreciate the wrongfulness of his conduct or conform his conduct to the requirements of the law."
The Court further found that, by a fair preponderance of the evidence, "there existed a sufficient relationship between the mental disability defendant suffered and criminal conduct such that he cannot justly be held responsible for his actions…"
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 be committed to the custody of the state department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals (BHDDH) for the purpose of observation and examination to determine whether the person is dangerous.
Once committed, the director of 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.
Providence Police Detective Jason Simoneau led the investigation. Special Assistant Attorney General Ryan Stys prosecuted the case on behalf of the Office of Attorney General.