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Home » News » Crime

May 20. 2013 8:32PM

Psychologist: Nashua man was insane at time of murder

NASHUA — A psychologist has determined that Duane Rolfe, the Nashua man accused of killing his sister earlier this year, was likely suffering from schizophrenia at the time of the murder.

Rolfe, 65, is accused of beating his sister to death with an undisclosed object, causing multiple blunt force injuries to her head and contusions to her brain.

Judith Rolfe, who died on Jan. 19 at the siblings’ 8 Belmont St. home, was Duane Rolfe’s longtime caretaker.

Dr. Philip Kinsler, a clinical and forensic psychologist, has diagnosed that Duane Rolfe was psychotic, or legally insane, at the time of the alleged attack. According to court documents, he was likely suffering from schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder, which manifests itself in illogical, irrational and delusional behavior, says court records.

“Research into Mr. Rolfe’s medical history has revealed extensive mental health treatment history,” says a court document filed by defense attorney Timothy Landry at Hillsborough County Superior Court.

Landry said earlier that if his client is deemed competent to stand trial for the murder of his sister, the defense team will rely on an insanity defense.

Landry has already filed a court notice to use the insanity defense if necessary. According to the motion, it was immediately apparent to the defense counsel that Duane Rolfe was mentally ill, allegedly acting “in a manner inconsistent with those of a sane person,” says court records.

“It is alleged that Mr. Rolfe brutally murdered his sister with a blunt object. Tragically, this is someone for whom he harbored no animosity and whom he held dear,” says court documents. “There appears to be no rational or understandable motive for the crime.”

Landry goes on to claim that his client, at times, tends to exhibit a delusional basis for his actions and does not always respond in a rational manner when discussing the case with his attorneys.

“It is also questionable whether at the time of the alleged offenses, Mr. Rolfe had the capacity to discern reality from delusion, or right from wrong,” wrote Landry, maintaining those mental health deficiencies remain to this day.

Landry insists that his client, according to an initial evaluation, is not competent to stand trial.

Benjamin Agati, assistant attorney general, said previously that the state will conduct its own mental evaluation of Rolfe to determine whether he is competent for trial. Dr. Albert Drukteinis, a clinical psychiatrist, may be asked to perform the state’s evaluation of Rolfe, Agati said last month.

The court has ruled that prosecutors have until June 14 to file their own competency evaluation on the matter.

Duane Rolfe has been indicted on two alternative counts of murder. The first-degree murder charge alleges that Rolfe purposely caused the death of his sister by striking her repeatedly with a blunt object, while the second-degree murder charge alleges that he recklessly caused her death by manifesting an extreme indifference to human life, says court documents.

The siblings operated McDonald’s, a kitchenware shop in downtown Nashua, for decades.

khoughton@newstote.com


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