by Mickey Smith
A Morristown woman, who allegedly killed her grandchild by feeding him medication not intended for him, has been ruled incompetent to stand trial at the current time.
Pamela Raymond, 55, is charged with second degree homicide and two charges of violating conditions of pretrial release.
According to a press release from the office of Lamoille County State’s Attorney Joel Page, “Judge [Dennis] Pearson referred Raymond for further evaluation, and preparation of additional expert report(s), if necessary, and then hearings to determine if Raymond should be committed to the custody of the Commissioner of the Vermont Department of Developmental and Mental Health Services, by order of either hospitalization or non-hospitalization.”
The order went on to report that a bail review hearing should be scheduled, if a hospitalization hearing cannot happen within 15 days.
Two psychiatrists, Dr. Jonathan Weker and Dr. Paul Cotton, examined Raymond and testified at a competency hearing on August 29.
In his “findings of fact,” Judge Pearson stated “Although the question is exceedingly close, and the psychiatrists are in virtual agreement as to almost all of the actual facts and even Defendant’s prevailing psychiatric diagnoses (but not their ultimate opinions as to legal competency), the court concludes it is more likely than not that Defendant Pamela Raymond is not currently competent and not able to be tried in these cases.”
Dr. Weker, the defense psychiatrist, concluded she was not competent to stand trial after not being able to perform a full set of intellectual and mental capacity tests on her. According to Judge Pearson’s document, he “did manage a couple of shorter instruments which indicated significant, or ‘gross’ cognitive impairment, and substantial deficits for orientation, attention-calculation, recall and language.”
The court appointed psychiatrist, Dr. Cotton did “not necessarily disagree with the various diagnoses of Raymond’s mental health issues, or the depictions of her apparent mental health status as currently exhibited, his ultimate opinion is that Defendant’s presentation is willful and volitional in the sense that she could ‘choose’ to ‘come out of’ her dissociative state.
Judge Pearson, who had the opportunity to observe Raymond at the August 29 competency hearing, stated if Raymond was pretending she would “have to be that consummate actress” pulling this off 24-hours a day for weeks and months. In his Findings of Fact, Judge Pearson stated if it was an act the performance would be “worthy of an Oscar,” comparing it to Meryl Streep’s elder Margaret Thatcher or Jack Nicholson in “Cuckoos Nest.”
Judge Pearson did notice the convenience of Raymond’s mental health symptoms coinciding with other court rulings. But he went on to state, it is up to the State to establish she is legally competent not her to prove that she is not.
Raymond was arrested in the fall of 2010 after her grandson, whom she was caring for at the time, died from a lethal dose of the medication imipramine (an antidepressant) which was not prescribed for him. The three-month old grandson died on September 13, 2010. According to court records, bottles containing traces of imipramine were found in the household.