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State v. Anderson

Court of Appeals of Connecticut

November 13, 2018

STATE OF CONNECTICUT
v.
FRANCIS ANDERSON

          Argued September 14, 2018

         Procedural History

         Substitute information charging the defendant with the crime of assault in the second degree and with four counts of the crime of reckless endangerment in the second degree, brought to the Superior Court in the judicial district of Middlesex and tried to the court, Vitale, J.; judgment of guilty, from which the defendant appealed to this court. Affirmed.

          Richard E. Condon, Jr., senior assistant public defender, for the appellant (defendant).

          Nancy L. Walker, assistant state's attorney, with whom, on the brief, were Peter McShane, former state's attorney, and Jeffrey Doskos, senior assistant state's attorney, for the appellee (state).

          Lavine, Keller and Elgo, Js.

          OPINION

          LAVINE, J.

         The defendant, Francis Anderson, appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered after a trial to the court, of one count of assault in the second degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-60 (a) (3) and four counts of reckless endangerment in the second degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-64 (a). On appeal, the defendant claims that there was insufficient evidence of the requisite mental state necessary for the trial court to have concluded that he acted recklessly. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

         On April 29, 2016, the trial court issued a memorandum of decision in which it found the following relevant facts. On August 24, 2014, Joanne Aldrich was working at the Whiting Forensic Division of Connecticut Valley Hospital (Whiting) as a forensic treatment specialist and was assigned to unit rounds during which she checked every fifteen minutes to see that the patients were in their rooms. Sometime after 10 p.m., a patient was out of his room, standing by the exit door near the defendant's bedroom. This patient was confused and making noise. While Aldrich was attempting to calm the patient, the defendant[1] exited his bedroom, which was located near where Aldrich and the patient were standing. The defendant did not approach or speak to Aldrich or the patient but, instead, proceeded down the hallway.

         Meanwhile, four other forensic treatment specialists (treatment specialists), David Latronica, Iris Fuqua, William Hewitt, and Darla White, were in the employee break room. Inside the small, approximately thirteen foot by thirteen foot break room, the treatment specialists were seated around two tables that were placed together to form a larger table. Two duffel bags rested on the tables and contained various personal items. There was a shelf in close proximity to the tables that contained boxes and other items. A large metal food cart, which was approximately three inches taller than the tables, was nearby.

         The defendant appeared at the open door of the break room, which was approximately eighty-two feet from his bedroom, and began to yell profanities and threatening language. He stated that he had been awakened by a patient down the hallway and that the treatment specialists in the break room were not doing their jobs, and asked why they were not helping the ‘‘old woman, '' in reference to Aldrich. The defendant entered the room, and the four treatment specialists stood up. The defendant appeared to be addressing Latronica, with whom he did not have a good relationship. The defendant threw the two duffel bags that were on the table and grabbed one of the tables. The treatment specialists placed their hands on the table to prevent the defendant from lifting or flipping it. The defendant then grabbed the metal food cart by the handle and flung it so that it became airborne. The cart struck White in the chest and propelled her backward into nearby cabinets. The defendant then left the room.

         Lance Mack, a forensic nurse, went to the break room after learning about the incident. Mack saw the defendant in the hallway entering a bathroom. Mack entered a conference room directly across from the bathroom as he thought that the defendant, with whom he had a good rapport, would follow him into the room because it was the ‘‘logical thing to do.'' Just as Mack anticipated, the defendant entered the room and sat down. The defendant recounted his version of the events in a concise manner, following logical thought patterns, explaining that he lost his temper and was frustrated by being in the unit.

         As a result of being hit by the metal cart, White experienced substantial pain in her chest, neck, and shoulder, and suffered headaches. After seeking treatment that failed to alleviate her symptoms, White underwent magnetic resonance imaging that revealed a herniated cervical disc requiring surgery. Following the surgery, White experienced numbness in her hands and was unable to turn her head to the right, engage in activities with her children, or return to work.

         The defendant was arrested and charged with one count of assault in the second degree in violation of § 53a-60 (a) (3) for flinging the metal cart that hit White and caused her serious injury. The defendant was also charged with four counts of reckless endangerment in the second degree in violation of § 53a-64 (a), each count identifying one of the treatment specialists, for throwing the two duffel bags and creating ...


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