OSH inmate who killed mother in 2009 must stay in hospital

Albany Democrat-Herald, May 7, 2014

Josh Staddon

Josh Staddon

A man who stabbed his mother to death in Brownsville in 2009 — and was found guilty except for insanity — won’t be released from the Oregon State Hospital.

The state’s psychiatric review board ruled Wednesday that Josh Lee Shaddon was still suffering from mental illness or defect after a hearing that took more than four hours on Wednesday.

“You need to continue to work with the hospital and the staff that’s been assigned to you,” said Kate Lieber, board attorney.

Oregon law requires a review every two years on whether a patient who is guilty except for insanity could be adequately treated in the community.

Shaddon didn’t help his case, appearing unemotional and testifying that he thought he was framed for his mother’s death by his stepfather, who was in attendance during the hearing.

He has maintained that he can’t remember killing Gerlene Thorne, 48, on Oct. 23, 2009.

“In my knowledge, in my belief, I did not. … There’s a possibility of that happening, knowing what went on in my life,” Shaddon testified.

Mental health professionals at the hospital have diagnosed Shaddon as suffering from psychosis linked to methamphetamine withdrawal around the time of his mother’s death.

A month before Shaddon killed Thorne, he was target-shooting and tried to shoot his stepfather Michael Thorne, but the weapon didn’t fire. In 2011, he pleaded no contest to a reduced charge of first-degree assault regarding that incident.

Defense counsel Harris Matarazzo said Shaddon had not been prescribed medications for four years, and he had no symptoms of psychosis since months after his mother’s death.

“Whatever he had, he no longer has,” Matarazzo added

Assistant Attorney General Doug Marshall, representing the state, argued that Shaddon posed “an extreme danger to society.”

“When is this guy going to grow up and be an adult?” Marshall asked.

“That’s his whole modus operandi, to blame someone else,” he added.

Mental health professionals also recommended against releasing Shaddon.

Psychiatrist Dr. James Peykenu questioned whether Shaddon was forthright with his lack of memory, and said Shaddon was in denial about his substance abuse problems and relapse risk, and that his engagement in treatment was “superficial at best.”

Shaddon’s relatives also urged against his release during the hearing.

“If you release him, believe me, he’s going to hurt again. … I’m afraid for my life. I went and got my concealed permit,” said Kathy Rocha, Gerlene Thorne’s sister.

Rocha showed family pictures of happier times, then crime scene photos showing her dead sister, including defensive wounds on her hands and arms.

“Look at it, Josh,” exclaimed Michael Thorne, from the audience.

Shaddon continued staring straight ahead.