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Posted at 01:52 PM ET, 10/28/2011

Killing at secure state hospital for the mentally ill

Maryland state mental officials acknowledged Friday that “more needs to be done” to improve safety at the state’s maximum-security mental hospital after the third apparent patient-on-patient killing in 13 months.

Officials are due to address the latest death in a press conference in Baltimore Friday.


The Clifton T. Perkins Hospital Center, run by the state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, is shown Friday, June 13, 2008, in Jessup, Md. (Rob Carr - The Associated Press)
The body of Rogelio Mondrago, 40, was found in his room at the facility in Jessup at about 6:30 p.m. Thursday by staff making routine checks, said Greg Shipley, spokesman for the Maryland State Police who are investigating the suspected murder.

Another patient, Andre Mayo, 46, has been charged with first- and second-degree murder in the death and was taken to the Howard County Detention Center pending a court appearance, state police said.

The death comes a week after Vitaly Davydov, 24, of Montgomery County, was accused of killing his roommate at Perkins. Davydov was at Perkins after being deemed not criminally responsible in 2007 in the beating death of his Rockville psychiatrist.

In September 2010, a female patient was strangled allegedly by a known sex offender at the hospital in what state officials said at the time appeared to be the first murder in the hospital’s 50-year history.

Mondrago appears to have suffered blunt force trauma but an autopsy is being conducted to determine the cause and manner of death, state police said.

Surveillance video shows Mayo entering the victim’s room twice within a 30-minute span, state police said. Mondrago had two roommates but was alone in the room at the time the video shows Mayo entering, said Shipley.

After Mondrago’s body was found, hospital staff began moving patients off the floor for the investigation and Mayo approached security staff and gave them information on the assault, state police said in a statement.

Shipley said a motive for the alleged killing was not yet known.

Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein, secretary of Maryland’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, said in a written statement that “Perkins Hospital has taken many steps to strengthen the safety of its environment, but more needs to be done.”

He called the events “tragic and unacceptable” and said “a full review of the hospital’s policies regarding safety” including referrals of patients and managing treatment of patients with potential for violence.

By  |  01:52 PM ET, 10/28/2011

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