Judge rules against transfer of man who stabbed South Hadley police officer 

  • Jeffrey Torres, second from left, in Hamsphire Superior Court in January 2018.  —Emily Cutts

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

NORTHAMPTON – A Hampshire Superior Court judge has ruled that the man who stabbed a South Hadley Police officer cannot be transferred out of Bridgewater State Hospital to another facility. 

Judge John Agostini signed an order Tuesday which found that Jeffrey Torres is mentally ill and that “failure to retain said person in strict security would create a likelihood of serious harm, and said person is not a proper subject for commitment to any facility of the Department of Mental Health.”

Jeffrey Torres, 32, had been charged with armed assault with intent to murder and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon in a March 18, 2016, incident at a South Hadley Dunkin’ Donuts in which he stabbed South Hadley Officer Christopher Roberts in the neck with a 5-inch serrated knife. Roberts shot Torres three times hitting him in the hand, chest and leg. Roberts was treated for his injury and released from Baystate Medical Center.

In January, Judge Richard Carey ruled that Torres is not criminally responsible for his actions, and ordered that he return to Bridgewater State Hospital where he had been held since shortly after his arrest. Evaluations by multiple psychiatrists found that Torres was not criminally responsible for his actions due to mental illness, prosecutors and defense lawyers said at the time.

Agostini signed the order following a Monday hearing on whether Torres would be allowed to be transferred to a Department of Mental Health facility. As part of the order, Torres is to be committed to Bridgewater State Hospital for a period not to exceed six months, or until there is no longer a likelihood of serious harm by reason reason of mental illness, whichever period is shorter, according to the order. 

Torres was represented by attorney Susan T. O’Leary of the Committee for Public Counsel Service’s Brockton commitment unit. Torres and his attorney argued for a transfer to a Department of Mental Health facility.

Emily Cutts can be reached at ecutts@gazettenet.com.