Mayor Opposes CVH Patient's Release

Kenneth Ruggles was committed to Middletown's psychiatric hospital more than 20 years ago after he was found not guilty, by reason of insanity, of trying to kill a Bethel policeman.

Mayor Dan Drew has written a letter to the state’s Psychiatric Security Review Board opposing the proposed release of a patient at Connecticut Valley Hospital.

In a letter sent today to Ellen Weber Lachance, the review board’s executive director, Drew said he is “furious” that the board could release Kenneth Ruggles to the Gilead House here in Middletown. Ruggles was committed to CVH in the mid-1980s after he was found not guilty, by reason of insanity, of trying to murder a Bethel police officer after stalking and shooting the officer.

Drew says in his letter that he’s been notified that the review board intends to approve the release.

“I am furious that the PSRB has agreed to grant Mr. Ruggles’ release into the City of Middletown, that the safety of the people of Middletown has been blatantly disregarded by the PSRB, and that neither any office nor the police department were notified of the board’s decision.”

The board held a hearing last month on the proposal to release Ruggles into a treatment program here. However, Drew does not say in his letter how he learned that the board would approve the release.

His letter comes on the heels of another recent hearing the security review board held on the proposed release of another CVH patient, David Messenger, who beat his pregnant wife to death in 1998 in their Chaplin home. Messenger was also acquitted by reason of insanity and committed to CVH.

In his letter to Lachance, Drew said the proposal to release Ruggles into a Middletown treatment facility is particularly upsetting because of the 1989 stabbing death of a young girl in downtown Middletown by a CVH patient who had walked away from the psychiatric facility.

“The PSRB continues to show a lack of regard for the safety and welfare of the citizens of the city of Middletown and the public at large,” Drew said in his letter.

The review board’s next meeting is Friday. Ruggles’ case is not on the board’s agenda, but Messenger’s is.

Maria Buatti May 04, 2013 at 05:59 PM
I thought that the Psych Review Board was set up by statute, with a specific requirement to notify the City of Middletown prior to making all its decisions. This notification is done by posting its agenda on-line. I think the Mayor's office would want to follow these postings regularly in order to provide written testimony or to appear in person. Other elected officials in the Greater Middletown area would do well to keep track of the meeting agendas.


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