‘Insanity plea’ inmate charged with murdering man at NJ psych hospital
MORRIS PLAINS — A man committed to Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital after a 2014 homicide has now been charged with stabbing a man to death in his room at the facility.
Staffers at the 510-bed hospital on Tuesday found Rashid Davis, 28, in a hallway with blood on his hand and a person lying in a pool of blood, according to Morris County Prosecutor Fredric M. Knapp. An investigation determined the cause of death to be multiple stab wounds to the neck area.
The death is the latest black mark for one of the state's public psychiatric hospitals. Greystone is facing a class-action lawsuit by the Public Defender's Office claiming and “atmosphere of terror and retaliation” and "harmful, life-threatening conditions" at the hospital, which has faced decades of patient complaints, criminal investigations against employees and lawsuits.
Knapp did not reveal the identity of the deceased or what may have led to the stabbing. He also did not say what object was used by Davis or where he got the item.
Davis was charged with first-degree murder, third-degree possession of a weapon for unlawful purposes, and fourth-degree unlawful possession of a weapon, according to Knapp.
He was found not guilty by reason of insanity in 2016 for the 2014 killing of Leonard Pearson, 83, according to Essex County Prosecutor's Office spokeswoman Katherine Carter. He was hospitalized at Ann Klein Forensic Center in Ewing and transferred to Greystone, according to Morris Township-Morris Plains Patch.
Police found Pearson beaten and stabbed inside his Nevada Street apartment in May 2014.
Davis remains in custody at Greystone pending his first appearance in court.
Knapp asked anyone with information about the incident to call the Major Crimes Unit of the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office at 973-285-6200, or the New Jersey State Police Major Crimes Bureau at 609-584-5054.
A spokeswoman for the state Department of Health confirmed the incident but had no additional comment.
Greystone, which originally opened in 1877 as the New Jersey State Lunatic Asylum at Morris Plains, is located on the border of Morris Plains and Parsippany and is one of five psychiatric facilities throughout the state that make up the Division of Mental Health within the state Department of Human Services. The original main Kirkbride building was torn down in 2015.
New Jersey’s Office of the Public Defender filed a class-action lawsuit lawsuit in 2018 claiming that the facility is severely understaffed and overpopulated because of the closure of other facilities resulting in their patients being sent to Greystone.
During the Morris County Mental Health and Addiction Coalition's annual legislative breakfast in October Ann Portas, assistant director of public defender's Division of Mental Health and Guardianship Advocacy said that clients plead not to be sent to Greystone because of the conditions, according to the Morristown Daily Record.
NJ.com reported the state Attorney General's office filed a motion to dismiss the suit because it "fails to state any viable claim.”
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