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Is it safe to move accused killer Elizabeth Teague? - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Is it safe to move accused killer Elizabeth Teague?

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BRATTLEBORO, Vt. -

"I actually deserve to be free on my own recognizance," Elizabeth Teague said.

Despite hearing testimony that former Bennington Eveready Plant employee Elizabeth Teague is suffering from the same mental diagnosis as when she shot and killed her supervisor and injured three others at her workplace in 1991...

"The risk of harm to others or harm to self may be a little increased at the Middlesex facility," said Dr. Joseph Smith of the Brattleboro Retreat.

...The commissioner of the Vermont Department of Mental Health is asking to relocate her to a facility in Middlesex with fewer restrictions. They say cost and a shortage of beds for other mental health patients is a factor but:

"That really is not the driving force behind this," said Caroline Earle, the lawyer for the commissioner of the department of mental health. "The driving force is that Miss Teague has a better potential to do better as a mental health patient."

Lawyers for the department of mental health, the prosecutor from Bennington, plant employees, Teague and her attorney appeared in Windham County Court Friday. Teague was reprimanded when she called out in court: "Objection, hearsay!"

The judge said, "Excuse me, Miss Teague, you've been doing very well so far, but you will remember when you earlier asked about representing yourself, I denied your request."

The state argued that notes made about Teague by mental health professionals indicate that her condition has not improved; she still suffers from schizophrenia and auditory delusions and even has made threats to government employees.

Erica Marthage/Bennington County State's Attorney: The Secret Service is notified when she leaves the building?

Dr. Joseph Smith: When she leaves the retreat grounds, yes.

Teague's psychiatrists said that a lack of resources following damaged mental health facilities during Tropical Storm Irene made beds for mental health patients scarce. They say Teague's bed could be put to better use for a patient who is higher risk and wants to participate in the counseling programs and medical assistance the retreat offers.

The Bennington County prosecutor opposes that idea.

"The Middlesex facility is not a state hospital so she would no longer be under an order of hospitalization she would be under an order of non-hospitalization," Marthage said.

Court documents show Teague has not been taking her medication and she says she doesn't need to. She says she would willingly go to the Middlesex facility, which has a total of seven patients and operates out of a mobile unit. She claims alleged reports about her aggressive behavior, including reportedly using a guitar cord to assault a staff member and having her room searched for contraband after she reportedly acted aggressively with a fork, are inaccurate.

"They were never, you know, very concerned, They were, in my opinion and the opinion of other patients, creative fiction writers, you know," Teague said.

Prosecutors also say they oppose the move due to the difference in security requirements.

The judge said additional information can be presented up to Sept. 12. He will then review that and make a decision.

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Battle brewing over effort to move accused killer
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