Suspect in brutal attack on repairman unlikely to stand trial
St. Johnsbury, Vermont - May 13, 2011
The court has ruled that Evan Rapoza, 21, of Danville, has the mental capacity to stand trial.
"I did receive Dr. Linder's report which is extensive," Vt. Superior Court Judge M. Kathleen Manley said.
But it's unlikely that Rapoza-- who police say beat, strangled and attempted to drown a furnace repairman at his parents' home in St. Johnsbury back in February-- will ever face a jury. After a psychiatric evaluation, a doctor hired by the defense determined that Rapoza was insane when he allegedly brutally attacked 50-year-old Michael Kuligoski, an employee of Fred's Propane in Lyndonville. Caledonia County State's Attorney Ben Luna agrees and will not be seeking an independent evaluation.
"The state will not challenge the conclusion of Dr. Linder that Evan Rapoza was insane on February 26, 2011, when he attempted to murder Michael Kuligoski," Luna said.
"The next step would typically be a hospitalization hearing," Judge Manley said.
Both the state and the defense agree that Rapoza is mentally ill and should be confined to the state's mental health facility instead of prison. Rapoza was not in the courtroom Friday and his lawyer is trying to get him excused him from further court appearances.
"Given the very serious nature of this case, expect that there would be a recitation in the stipulation relative to future reviews that come up," the judge said.
Judge Manley made it clear that the state's attorney's office and the court must be notified if Rapoza was ever to be discharged.
We still don't know what motivated the brutal attack or why Rapoza was found to be insane and we may never know. His mental health evaluation has been sealed and the state is fighting to keep it that way.
Michael Kuligoski's family does not wish to be contacted, but his employer told us that he is currently in a rehabilitation facility in Massachusetts.