William Bower of Northampton, awaiting trial for attempted murder, committed to Bridgewater State Hospital
NORTHAMPTON — A Northampton man, accused of a violent attack on a woman in Easthampton in October 2012, was committed to Bridgewater State Hospital Friday for up to six months for evaluation and treatment.
William E. Bower, 31, of 18 Grove St., appeared in Hampshire Superior Court before judge Mary-Lou Rup for the hearing.
Jamie Krauss, a forensic psychologist who had evaluated Bower testified he has a schizoaffective disorder, which means that even if his mood is stabilized with medication, some residual psychotic symptoms remain.
Krauss said Bower suffers from paranoid delusions and has little insight into his own mental disorder. She said he has made threats to kill corrections officers.
According to Krauss, Bower has a history of violent crime convictions, not merely making threats.
She said it was more appropriate to keep Bower at Bridgewater, rather than another mental health facility, due to Bridgewater’s more stringent security and the fact that there are no female patients there.
Krauss said Bower has been admitted to Bridgewater 16 times. Attorney Nadel Hill, representing Bower for the commitment hearing, argued that Bower is non-violent and compliant when taking his medications, and has not had a incident since Dec. 19, 2012, and could safely remain at the Hampshire Jail and House of Correction. Bower has been held on $20,000 bail since his Nov. 19 arraignment.
Krauss said Bower is in need of treatment, and only partially complies, refusing to accept changes to his medications.
Hill argued that Bower can only be involuntarily committed if he demonstrates an “imminent” threat of harm to himself or others, not a future threat, which he hadn’t.
Rup disagreed and granted the request for commitment.
According to court records, Bower allegedly attacked a woman, broke her nose and tried to rape her on Knipfer Avenue in Easthampton about 9:30 p.m., Oct. 22. The woman allegedly spotted Bower, whom she described as appearing “disoriented” and offered him assistance.
Bower allegedly wrapped his arm around her neck, told her he had a knife, ordered her to remove her clothing, and threatened to rape and kill her, according to court files. The victim fought back by yelling, struggling and biting one of Bower’s fingers hard enough to draw blood. According to police, the woman negotiated her release with Bower while still holding his finger between her teeth. Afterwards, the victim called police, who located Bower a short time later on Cottage Street.
Bower faces charges of attempted murder by strangulation, assault with intent to rape, indecent assault and battery on a person over 14, assault and battery, threatening to commit rape, and threatening to commit murder.
A hearing in the case is scheduled for April 18.
Bob Dunn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org