Parents object to judge sending suspect back to hospital for evaluation

Hampshire County Courthouse in Northampton

Hampshire County Courthouse in Northampton GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

By JAMES PENTLAND

Staff Writer

Published: 02-16-2024 3:39 PM

NORTHAMPTON — Loud objections from the suspect’s parents greeted a judge’s order Thursday that a Florence man facing charges of attempted murder and strangulation be returned to Bridgewater State Hospital for evaluation.

“I am the victim,” the mother of defendant Cody Malone said, demanding to be heard after Hampshire Superior Court Judge Edward McDonough endorsed the prosecution’s motion for hospitalization.

As she and Malone’s father were ushered out of court, he was heard to denounce the prosecution, saying the case had been blown out of proportion.

Outside court, Assistant District Attorney Matthew Thomas acknowledged that Malone’s parents want the case dismissed. But he said the commonwealth has to be concerned about the safety of the victims.

“The fact that she wants the case dropped, we’re not bound by that,” he said.

In court, Thomas said Malone has never been found competent to stand trial and he’s concerned that his condition is worsening.

Malone, endeavoring to represent himself in the criminal case, has submitted court filings that a prosecutor could use against him at trial, he said. “Even with counsel, he incriminates himself unwittingly,” Thomas said.

Malone previously filed a motion to dismiss his attorney, Jonah Goldsmith, who also filed a motion to withdraw. Goldsmith told McDonough there had been a “significant breakdown” between them. “It would be counterproductive for me to continue as counsel,” he said.

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Malone, 28, was first arraigned on the charges in September 2020. He was charged with attacking his mother and strangling her to the point of unconsciousness, landing her in intensive care. The case arose from Malone losing his temper during an argument over his inability to move out and move on with his life, Thomas said, and the commonwealth’s concern is that he is becoming increasingly angry and may act out again.

“As a conscientious prosecutor, I cannot wait for him to choke his father as he choked his mother,” he said.

“In my contact with his family, I see nothing but patient parents at their wits’ end,” he said, before playing a portion of a recording of what he described as a two-hour argument between Malone and his father.

“He needs mental health care,” Thomas said, asking the judge to order a 40-day hospital stay.

This will be the third time Malone has been hospitalized. He was found not competent to stand trial in 2021, and Judge John Agostini also ruled him incompetent in June 2022. Staff at Bridgewater will decide if Malone needs to be held for longer than 40 days or be released to his family.