Murder of Kathryn Faughey

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Kathryn Faughey was a 56-year-old New York City psychologist who was murdered by 39-year-old David Tarloff at her upper East Side Manhattan office on the night of February 12, 2008.

Background[edit]

David Tarloff had exhibited disturbing behaviours for almost two decades, and was well-known to the medical and psychiatric establishment and the police force. During these years, up to the time of the Kathryn Faughey murder, he received a wide range of psychiatric assessments and treatments. He received medication and electroshock therapy by force.[1]

Incident[edit]

Tarloff walked past the doorman, rolling a suitcase behind him (as seen on the building's surveillance video), saying that he was there to see Dr. Schinbach. Tarloff waited in the office reception area, chatting with a patient, while one of Dr. Faughey's evening sessions was in progress. After that session concluded, when he knew that Faughey was alone in her office, he entered the room and attacked her with a meat cleaver. A psychiatrist from the same practice, Dr. Kent Schinbach, attempted to help her, but was seriously wounded by slashes in the face and neck.[2][3]

Aftermath[edit]

Tarloff was arrested and arraigned for the murder and ordered to undergo a psychiatric evaluation[4] which found him to be mentally competent to stand trial.[5] There was evidence that the attack had been premeditated, but that the intended victim was Schinbach.[4] Tarloff told police that he had planned to rob Schinbach, who he remembered being involved in diagnosing him with schizophrenia in 1991 and arranging for his institutionalization at that time.[4][5] Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) regulations to protect patient confidentiality were reported to have delayed the initial investigation.[6] Tarloff, who was expected to plead insanity in the case, was confined to a psychiatric unit of Bellevue Hospital while awaiting trial. His attorney said that "the evidence is clear that he [Tarloff] did it, but the reasons he did it ... are so crazy that we believe we have a very strong insanity defense."[7] His trial was scheduled for October 2010, but during jury selection a mistrial was declared after two psychiatrists that the court had appointed to evaluate Tarloff found him mentally unfit to stand trial.[8]

Tarloff went on trial for the murder in March 2013 in the State Supreme Court in Manhattan. Jury selection was completed on March 8, 2013, and opening arguments were heard on March 11. Tarloff admitted to committing the murder, but sought to avoid a prison sentence on the grounds of his mental illness.[9][10] On April 16, 2013, a mistrial was declared after the jury came back a third and final time with a note that they were deadlocked.[11]

After mistrials in 2010 and 2013, third trial began with jury selection on March 3, 2014. Kathryn Faughey's immediate family were in the courtroom when the verdict was reached on March 28, 2014. After six years, Tarloff was finally found guilty of Murder in the first degree for Kathryn Faughey, assault in the first degree for Dr. Shinbach. Verdict was reached in less than 5 hours. On May 2, 2014 a Manhattan Supreme Court Justice sentenced David Tarloff to life without the possibility of parole on murder in the first degree and 25 years to life for assault in the second degree. Each of the Faughey's family members gave a victim impact statement of how their lives has changed. Before being sentenced David Tarloff acknowledged that what he did was wrong and apologized to the family stating he was 46 years old and sick since he was 23. The Supreme Court justice was satisfied the jurors found Tarloff guilty.

Broader implications[edit]

The incident led to public discussion regarding the safety of mental health professionals who see patients in isolated settings.[12] In 2006 psychiatrist Wayne Fenton, a schizophrenia researcher who was an administrator at the National Institute of Mental Health, was found dead in the home office in Bethesda, Maryland where he met with private patients, apparently murdered by a 19-year-old patient.[13][14]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kirk, Stuart A. (2013). Mad Science: Psychiatric Coercion, Diagnosis, and Drugs. Transaction Publishers. p. 13. 
  2. ^ Patient hacks therapist to death, New York Daily News, February 13, 2008
  3. ^ Russ Buettner (March 13, 2013). "Psychiatrist, Also Victimized, Tells of Attack by Defendant". New York Times. 
  4. ^ a b c Associated Press, Man Arraigned in Therapist's Knife Slaying; Judge Orders Psychiatric Evaluation, February 17, 2008
  5. ^ a b Psychologist Murder Suspect Found Fit For Trial, WCBS-TV, February 22, 2008
  6. ^ Associated Press, NYPD Investigation Into Therapist Slaying Slowed by Privacy Laws, February 16, 2008
  7. ^ Samuel Maull, Insanity defense for NYC cleaver murder suspect, Associated Press, April 15, 2008
  8. ^ Jon Eligon, Defendant Unfit For Trial In Killing of Psychologist, New York Times, October 19, 2010
  9. ^ Russ Buettner (March 11, 2013). "Third Attempt at Trial in Killing of a Therapist". New York Times. 
  10. ^ Russ Buettner (March 12, 2013). "Trial of a Therapist's Killer Will Hinge on Frame of Mind". New York Times. 
  11. ^ "Mistrial in 'Cleaver Slay' case". NY Post. Retrieved 16 April 2013. 
  12. ^ Therapists Are Advised To Take Precautions, New York Sun, February 14, 2008
  13. ^ Yvonne Shinhoster Lamb, NIMH Administrator Wayne S. Fenton, 53, The Washington Post, September 5, 2006, Page B06
  14. ^ Patient vs. Doctor, Newsweek website, February 15, 2008