An Aurora man who was accused of stabbing his father to death will spend indefinite time seeking treatment for mental illness at a Summit County facility.
Judge Becky Doherty committed Colton J. Gavin, 24, to Northcoast Behavioral Healthcare in Sagamore Hills Township during Gavin’s approximately 15-minute civil recognizance hearing in the Portage County Court of Common Pleas Monday afternoon.
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“We are very relieved that he can finally get help after four years,” Melanie Gavin, Colton Gavin’s mother, said after the hearing. “And justice is done.”
Doherty said his choice of facility was based on the recommendations of a mental health evaluation which determined that Gavin “is a mentally ill person subject to court-ordered hospitalization as part of the treatment the less restricted, consistent with public safety and Mr. Gavin’s treatment needs…”
“The court technically retains jurisdiction for life because it was originally an aggravated murder,” Doherty told Gavin. “It depends on how long the tribunal has jurisdiction. What usually happens is that at least every two years I get a report from Northcoast, and I have to have a hearing every two years at a minimum to determine whether or not this is still the least restricted setting given your mental illness.”
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Doherty added that there could be additional hearings if Northcoast feels a change in treatment is necessary.
Prosecution, defense satisfied with mental health assessment
Prosecutor Stephen Michniak and defense attorney Joseph Gorman said they had no problem with the assessment. Gorman said he was satisfied with the assessment, which he called “independent,” and he sees no need for the defense to conduct its own.
“Yes, ma’am” and “yes, judge” were Gavin’s only comments during the hearing when Doherty asked him if he understood his rights.
Gorman told Doherty that prosecutors had been “fair” throughout the case and were “compassionate” to Gavin and his family.
Doherty found Gavin not guilty by reason of insanity on all counts in September, including aggravated murder and two counts each of second-degree murder and assault. Gavin chose to have his case heard by a judge rather than a jury, and Doherty’s verdict followed a bench trial.
Gorman also said during the recognizance hearing that Gavin and his family were grateful for the difficult decision Doherty made with his verdict.
“I think this opportunity gives Cole at least some light at the end of the tunnel,” Gorman said. “He can work to get better and prove that he can be a productive member of the community. Obviously, Judge, a hospital setting as opposed to a maximum security prison for Cole is a night and day situation, and I think he has some hope.”
Doherty said at the time that his verdict was based on a lengthy review of testimony from psychologists Bob Stinson and James Karpawich, expert witnesses for the defense and prosecution, respectively, as well as Gavin’s medical records for the months preceding on November 2018. death of Thomas Gavin. She said she walked out of the exam agreeing with Stinson that records showed Gavin was showing clear signs of mental illness and was not cooperating with treatment or taking prescribed medication.
The man’s family tried to help him with mental illness before he fatally stabbed him
Melanie Gavin and her grandmother, Melissa Melvin, said the family tried to get her help before her father died, but it was hampered by the fact that he is an adult, so the facilities where he was taken could not hold him any longer. more than 72 hours against his will.
Melanie Gavin said her son was a student who had lots of friends until mental illness started to take hold of him.
Colton Gavin was charged with repeatedly stabbing his father on November 19, 2018. Gavin and his father lived together in a house on Prestige Woods Boulevard.
Twice in 2019 he was declared unfit to stand trial, but was later declared fit in December 2019.
Gorman said after the recognizance hearing that he was happy with the outcome.
“I think the judge made the right decision and I commend her for her courage,” he said. “I’m confident Cole will finally get the help he needs. And anyone who knew Tom Gavin will tell you he would be thrilled.”
Family members who were nearby expressed their agreement with this.
“Amen,” said one of them.
Journalist Jeff Saunders can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article originally appeared on Record-Courier: Aurora Man Accused of Killing His Father Committed to a Psychiatric Care Facility
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