A jury has found a former forensic nurse at Whiting Forensic Hospital in Middletown guilty on eight of 16 counts after two days of deliberations in a high-profile abuse case.
A jury has found Mark Cusson guilty of three counts of cruelty to persons and five counts of disorderly conduct. The sentencing date has not yet been set.
NBC Connecticut Investigates broke the story about the patient abuse at Connecticut’s maximum-security mental hospital two years ago.
Cusson took a calculated risk electing a jury trial in a patient abuse case that already has some of his former co-workers behind bars.
A four man, two woman jury concluded Cusson did abuse longtime Whiting patient Bill Shehadi on more than one occasion in March 2017. All the incidents captured on surveillance video in Shehadi's room.
“If a picture is worth a thousand words, these videos are worth a million. You are able to see the violence and see how Bill Shehadi was treated by Mr. Cusson. All these strung together, show the tormenting behavior that Mr. Shehadi was subjected to by Mr. Cusson,” said Assistant State’s Attorney Jeff Doskos during closing arguments Tuesday.
Most of the four hours of surveillance video, which the prosecution says shows Cusson putting a mop on Shehadi’s head, kicking him off his bed, and throwing a cup of liquid in his face, among other things, is in the dark, other than one very short clip when the lights were turned on in his room.
Cusson denied putting a mop of Shehadi's head.
Cusson and his legal team had argued in the absence of any direction from hospital management, he adopted effective, yet unorthodox techniques for dealing with an exceptionally dangerous and difficult patient known to injure staff.
Cusson attorney Norm Pattis tells NBC Connecticut Investigates that "...an appeal is inevitable."
Cusson currently has a maximum potential prison time exposure of 20 years, but would likely get a lot less, according to people familiar with the case.