NATIONAL NEWS

Patient and 3 staffers charged in another patient’s beating death at mental health facility

Mar 1, 2024, 3:29 PM

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A patient, two psychiatric assistants and a nurse have been indicted on charges stemming from the beating death of another patient at a state-run mental health facility in Ohio.

A 24-year-old man who allegedly attacked the 57-year-old victim at Twin Valley Behavioral Healthcare in Columbus on July 23, 2022, is charged with murder and felonious assault, The Columbus Dispatch reported Friday.

At the time, the alleged attacker was being evaluated by forensic psychologists at the facility to determine whether he was competent to stand trial in a sexual battery case, according to county court records.

The victim had been at the facility for about a month, according to Cuyahoga County court records, after being found not competent in a 2022 case where he was charged with murder in the September 2021 death of a woman.

The facility is where courts around Ohio send people accused of crimes for forensic psychological evaluation. It also houses patients with severe mental health needs who have been referred there by other mental or behavioral health facilities.

Details about the attack and what may have prompted it have not been disclosed. An autopsy by the Franklin County Coroner’s Office found the victim died from blunt force injury to the head.

John Traylor, 65, and Augustine Norris, 66 — who both were psychiatric assistants at the facility before they retired last spring — and Julie Willoughby, 40, who was a nurse, are each charged with involuntary manslaughter and patient abuse or neglect, according to court records.

All four were indicted by a county grand jury, and the charges were made public Friday. Court records did not show that any of the four have retained attorneys, nor did they list telephone numbers for them.

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Patient and 3 staffers charged in another patient’s beating death at mental health facility