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Slain Chaplin Woman’s Family Files Suit, Seeks To Keep Killer In State Custody

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David Messenger (center) with his attorney at a Psychiatric Security Review Board meeting November 18. 2011. Photo by WTIC's Matt Dwyer.

David Messenger (center) with his attorney at a Psychiatric Security Review Board meeting November 18. 2011. Photo by WTIC’s Matt Dwyer.

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The family of a Chaplin woman killed by her mentally ill husband in 1998, has filed a federal lawsuit seeking to keep him at Connecticut Valley Hospital.

Heather Williamson Messenger’s family attorney John Klar says the suit also challenges the laws that guide the Psychiatric Security Review Board, when it decides how much freedom mental patients should have.

“Because they are deficient in that regard, they are deficient for all victims in PSRB hearings,” Klar said. “It creates a different sort of system for the evidence they can present, versus the evidence in criminal proceedings.  That’s an equal protection challenge.”

The board is scheduled to review the case of David Messenger May 3.

Klar said it would be up to the court whether that proceeding should be postponed.

He says the statutes fail to take into consideration the psychological harm suffered by the survivors of such a crime, if the person who carried the crime out is released.

Messenger was found not guilty of beating his pregnant wife to death with a fireplace poker, because of mental illness.

Messenger’s young son was in the home at the time of the attack.

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