Judge rules on security level for two patients in state mental hospital


Staff report

WARREN

James Hubbard, who shot a woman to death in 1991 in a Taco Bell parking lot in Niles, will remain in a state mental hospital at the same security level.

Hubbard, 52, appeared before Judge W. Wyatt McKay of Trumbull County Common Pleas Court in January and was ordered to take certain psychiatric medications that he had refused.

On Wednesday, his attorney, Matt Pentz of the Ohio Public Defender’s Office, said Hubbard is “making progress” at Heartland Behavioral Healthcare since the January hearing.

The hearing was an ordinary two-year review, and Judge McKay said Hubbard remains a mentally ill person subject to commitment at a state mental hospital.

The judge ruled Hubbard should remain at Level 3, where he’s been for several years. The next least-restrictive level – Level 4 – would allow Hubbard to travel outside of the hospital with staff.

Hubbard was found not guilty by reason of insanity of the murder and the attempted murder of a second person at whom he fired a gun in Weathersfield Township the same day.

Judge McKay also ruled Wednesday that Lisa K. Layne, 57, should be reclassified at Level 5 at the same state facility, a classification that will allow her to have off-grounds unsupervised trips.

Layne was found not guilty by reason of insanity of burglary and attempted aggravated arson for pouring gasoline on a house on West Third Street in Niles and possessing a lighter in May 2009.

Prosecutors said she threatened to burn down her former pastor’s house while his four children were inside.

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