AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — A man who raped and killed his mother-in-law has been allowed supervised release from the state’s psychiatric center much to the dismay of the victim’s family.
Less than eight months after a judge found Paul Orchard not criminally responsible for a brutal murder, he petitioned the court for release from Riverview. After a lengthy hearing, the judge approved a request Friday for limited release under supervision.
Paul Orchard sexually assaulted and murdered his mother-in-law, Paula Nuttall, in front of his 6-year-old daughter. Even as police subdued him, Orchard was still trying to attack his victim.
“He kept fighting, screaming, trying to squirm away, trying to get back to the female on the floor,” Lt. Dan Carrier of the Mexico Police Department testified.
Not long after his arrest, Orchard was diagnosed as being acutely psychotic. In March, a judge found him not criminally responsible and committed him to the Riverview Psychiatric Center. Now, just several months later, he was asking to be released. The victim’s family says no way.
“We haven't healed," Nuttall's sister Janice Morrissey said. "They told us, 'he's insane, has hallucinations' and all this, but yet, they put him in the hospital and eight months later he feels better and can move on with his life?"
Riverview staff and the state Forensic Services director testified that Orchard is ready for limited supervised release into the community.
“I believe the likelihood that he would cause harm to himself or anyone else during such an outing is minimal,” Dr. Ann LeBlanc said.
Justice Joyce Wheeler agreed, allowing Orchard out for no more than six hours a day, in small groups, under supervision. She said she would revisit the case in six months.