August 3, 2011 5:14 pm
A Napa State Hospital patient charged in the grisly strangulation of a 54-year-old psychiatric technician has pleaded no contest to murder in Napa County Superior Court and is expected to face a prison sentence of 25 years to life, a prosecutor said Wednesday.
Jess Willard Massey, 38, previously entered a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity. If a jury had found that he met that legal definition, he would have been returned to the state hospital system.
But two mental health experts assigned by the court to evaluate Massey concluded that he was aware his actions were wrong when he killed Donna Gross, said Napa County Deputy Dist. Atty. Allison Haley.
Both of the evaluations “came back that he was predatory and not psychotic,” said Haley, who agreed to drop charges of robbery and kidnapping with special allegations in exchange for the plea.
Gross’ Oct. 23 death marked the first killing of a staff member in California’s state mental hospital system in two decades and triggered an outcry from staff and families of patients at the aging facility, which has experienced a marked rise in violence against staff and patients in recent years.
Among those responsible for the increase are a growing number of patients who are not suffering from symptoms of schizophrenia or other severe mental illness when they lash out but are violent with intention, staff and state officials have said.Massey had a diagnosed character diagnosis but “has never displayed consistent psychotic symptoms,” Haley said. He had a history of assaulting others and dealing in contraband.The investigation revealed that Massey attacked the well-liked Gross on the fenced hospital grounds on a rainy evening, dragged her over a wall, robbed her, stuffed peacock feces in her mouth and strangled her.
Haley said Massey tried to sell Gross’ gun, blamed other patients for the killing, then confessed and said he strangled Gross so she wouldn’t report the robbery — actions that showed “consciousness of guilt.”
“I couldn’t take the chance that he was going to be returned to [a state hospital,] where people live who actually need to be there and are vulnerable because of their need,” Haley said.
Massey’s attorney, Deputy Public Defender Joseph Solga, could not be reached for comment. Massey’s sentencing is scheduled Aug. 23.
Each letter of the first and middle names rules 9 years of life. Ages 27 to 54 are ruled by the sum of the 4th, 5th, and 6th letters of the name.
Jess Willard Massey
19 (s is the 19th letter of the alphabet) + 23 (W is the 23rd letter of the alphabet) + 9 (i is the 9th letter of the alphabet) = 51
So the number 51 rules his ages twenty-seven to fifty-four.
51 = Murder. Homicide.
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