Authorities said Bricker threatened to mug a homeless man for his identity.
By BOB JACKSON
VINDICATOR COURTHOUSE REPORTER
YOUNGSTOWN -- A judge denied a city man's bid for fewer restrictions in a psychiatric hospital.
David Bricker, 38, was found innocent by reason of insanity six years ago in the 1990 killing of his girlfriend, 40-year-old Jane Reed.
The shooting occurred at a Fifth Avenue halfway house where both Bricker and Reed lived.
At one time, Bricker was ruled mentally incompetent to stand trial. He was given treatment and eventually was deemed competent. He was declared innocent by reason of insanity in June 1996.
Bricker has been confined to psychiatric institutions since then and is at Northcoast Behavioral Health Center in Northfield.
Doctors there recommended that his security status be changed to allow him freedom to leave the hospital campus for supervised trips like going to movies, dinner, sporting events or lectures.
Patrick Pochiro, assistant Mahoning County prosecutor, objected to the change, arguing that Bricker is a flight risk and presents a threat of harm to the public if he's allowed to leave the campus. A hearing on the matter was Wednesday.
Until April, Bricker was allowed to move freely around the hospital grounds without supervision. He could not leave the facility except for medical services that are not available at Northcoast.
He was placed under tighter restrictions in April after telling forensic monitor Linda Blum that instead of using his spending money for items in vending machines, he was hoarding it because he planned to escape the hospital.
Blum said Bricker also had told other patients that once he fled the hospital, he intended to mug a homeless person and steal his identification, allowing him to travel without the stigma of the insanity label and the murder charge.
Under cross-examination by defense attorney Louis DeFabio, Dr. Jagdish Mude of Northcoast said he'd seen no evidence that Bricker intended to escape or that he'd be a threat to society. Mude did say that Bricker has a history of manipulating hospital staff and that he'd fled from another psychiatric hospital in 2000. Authorities found him in California and brought him back.
That, and the threat to mug a homeless person, persuaded Judge R. Scott Krichbaum of common pleas court to deny the request for more liberties.
He allowed Bricker to be restored to his previous status of being unsupervised on campus but would not go along with the supervised trips away from the hospital.
"It would be irresponsible for this court to allow such privileges under conditions that presently exist," the judge said.