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Judge orders Rolfe to spend 5 years in state hospital

NASHUA — A local man diagnosed with schizophrenia and other mental illnesses has been ordered to spend five years in the state hospital for the alleged 2013 killing of his sister.

Duane Rolfe, 67, recently pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity for the Jan. 19, 2013 murder of his sibling, Judith Rolfe, who died of multiple blunt force injuries to her head and contusions to her brain.

“Mr. Rolfe suffers from a mental disease, bipolar disorder, as a result of which his release would create a substantial risk of bodily injury to himself and another. Accordingly, Mr. Rolfe shall be committed to the secure psychiatric unit for a five year period,” Judge Diane Nicolosi wrote in a recent ruling on file at Hillsborough County Superior Court.

Rolfe was previously deemed incompetent to stand trial for his sister’s murder. By pleading not guilty by reason of insanity to first-degree murder, two other related charges of second-degree murder were nolle prossed and dismissed without prejudice, according to court documents.

“The defendant does not object to a finding of dangerousness and five year committal,” Nicolosi wrote in her order.

Court records indicate that Dr. Philip Kinsler, a clinical and forensic psychologist, believes Rolfe’s mental status is improving, and that medical treatment since his incarceration has been beneficial.

Kinsler has diagnosed Rolfe as psychotic, or legally insane at the time of the alleged attack. According to court documents, Rolfe was likely suffering from schizophrenia or schizoaffective, a disorder that manifests itself in illogical, irrational and delusional behavior.

Rolfe operated McDonald’s kitchen shop in downtown Nashua for decades with his sister. The siblings shared a home together at 8 Belmont St.

“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,” defense attorney Timothy Landry wrote in 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.

“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 some of those mental health deficiencies remain to this day.

Rolfe, who was the sole intestate heir to his sister’s estate, has been awarded her inheritance, although it does not appear that Rolfe has access to, or the legal right to expend any of the funds, according to court documents.

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