Nashua Man Accused of Beating Ex-Police Chief Dad Faces Two Judges on Tuesday

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Eric Largy, center, is pictured with his public defenders, Suzanne Ketteridge, left, and Michael Davidow on Friday in Hillsborough County Superior Court South in Nashua.

A judge has scheduled another bail hearing for Eric Largy, the Nashua man who has been locked up for seven years and was only recently re-indicted for the 2009 beating of his father, retired Nashua Police Chief Clifton Largy.

The hearing will be Tuesday in Hillsborough County Superior Court South in Nashua. It will immediately follow Largy’s Probate Court hearing in Concord that day, which could lead to his discharge from the New Hampshire Hospital.

On Friday, Hillsborough County Superior Court Judge Charles S. Temple indicated Largy’s $100,000 cash bail could potentially be reduced to personal recognizance if he is discharged from the state’s psychiatric hospital.

Temple has been adamant that Largy, 49, not be held at the Valley Street Jail in Manchester awaiting trial. Largy has been held for seven years since the incident with his father, although the criminal charges filed against him at the time were dismissed. Those same charges – two counts of first-degree assault and one count of kidnapping – were re-filed in May.

“Mr. Largy, I want to make it very clear to you that your bail will be addressed before you spend any time in (Valley Street Jail),” Temple said Friday at a bail review hearing in Hillsborough County Superior Court South in Nashua.

After the April 22, 2009, incident with his father, Largy was first held at Valley Street Jail. He was deemed incompetent to stand trial and involuntarily committed to the Secure Psychiatric Unit at state prison for five and a half years. He was moved to the New Hampshire Hospital a few months ago.

Merrimack County Probate Judge David King didn’t make a final ruling on the state’s most recent petition to have Largy recommitted, but instead told the New Hampshire Hospital that Largy could be discharged before a final hearing on July 14. That hearing was later rescheduled and will be held on Tuesday.

The state had argued that Largy should be involuntarily re-committed because he still suffers from delusional disorder and continues to be a danger to himself or others. His treating psychiatrist, Dr. Matthew Davis, who no longer works at the hospital, disagreed and said he wasn’t sure Largy suffers from delusional disorder.

Soon after it became clear that Largy could soon be released from the hospital, a grand jury re-indicted him. Largy is accused of restraining his father in an antique barber’s chair at Eric’s home and torturing him for 12 hours on April 22, 2009.

The senior Largy suffered a broken chin and fractured eye sockets and told police he was lured to his son’s home and attacked. Eric Largy says he was defending himself that day from an abusive father. He said his father then manipulated his criminal case. Clifton Largy denies his son’s allegations.

Judge Temple made arrangements on Friday that would guarantee Largy’s bail hearing is held immediately after Tuesday’s hearing on his involuntary commitment. If Largy is not discharged from the hospital at the hearing in Merrimack County Probate Court in Concord, the Nashua bail hearing will be canceled, Temple said.

Last week, Public Defenders Michael Davidow and Suzanne Ketteridge filed a motion asking Temple to reconsider denying their motion to dismiss the criminal charges against Largy.

It asks that Temple hold a hearing on the matter and stay his order requiring Largy undergo another competency evaluation.

The defense had argued the state violated the law by failing to petition to have Largy re-evaluated for competency either before or after re-indicting him.

The state also failed to show a “reasonable basis” to believe that Largy’s competency situation had changed, the defense said. Prosecutor Michele Battaglia hasn’t responded to the motion to reconsider.

But she originally argued she had reason to believe Largy was restored to competency because he allowed his Probate Court hearings open to the press. They are usually closed to the public and press.  Battaglia also suggested that Largy is now competent because he invoked his right against self-incrimination.

In his order, Temple said a prosecutor may order a further competency evaluation before re-indicting if there is a “reasonable basis” to believe the person’s condition has changed, but it is not required by law.

Temple also dismissed Largy’s argument that the state must have a “reasonable basis” to believe his competency has been restored before refiling the criminal charges against him. But even if it did, Temple said the state met that burden because Largy was moved to a less restrictive setting and may soon be discharged.

Largy refused treatment during most of his stay at the Secure Psychiatric Unit. At Probate Court hearings, Largy’s psychiatrists described him a perfect gentleman who was always helpful to other patients, especially if he believed they were being bullied.

Besides all of the legal machinations in Superior and Probate courts, the New Hampshire Hospital has drafted an agreement that outlines what help would be offered to Largy if he is released to the community, which Largy has not agreed to.

It says, among other things, that if Largy is released to the community within 30 days of being discharged, the New Hampshire Hospital would pay for him to stay in a rooming house for 30 days, help him with food and help him find work.

It is unclear what will happen at Tuesday’s Probate Court hearing.

In his most recent order, Judge David King said some experts who testified “seemed to suggest that if Mr. Largy continues to politely decline to engage in psychotherapy, he would never be released.”

King wrote:  “Surely a lifetime commitment for a (2009) assault charge, which has not resulted in a conviction, is not how the courts can be expected to treat someone because he has a mental illness, absent clear and convincing evidence of present dangerousness.”

He also noted that Largy never exhibited any violent tendencies while at the Secure Psychiatric Unit.

“The court recognized …. that there should be few dangerous acts during the time that a person is involuntarily admitted, however in this case there have been none, during a seven-year period,” King wrote, emphasizing the word none.

 

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