Oregon State Hospital chief sued over release of patient found guilty in slaying

The Seattle Times – September 22, 1985

The widow of a Junction City man who was murdered by a man released from the Oregon State Hospital two days before the slaying is suing the hospital’s superintendent.

In her wrongful death suit filed in Lane County Circuit Court, Pearl Irvin is seeking $100,000 in damages from hospital Superintendent Robert Benning.

Her husband, George Irvin, 72, was beaten to death on July 20, 1984.

Kenneth Robin Case, 21, later was found guilty “except for mental disease or defect” in the slaying and was sent back to the state hospital in Salem.

In her suit, Irvin accuses Benning of failing to present the recommendations of the physician who was treating Case at a release review hearing held on July 18, 1984.

She contends that the only testimony offered by the hospital at the hearing was by a physician who had seen Case “only briefly” in the two months before the hearing and by a social worker.

Case was released from the hospital the day of the hearing.