A four man, two woman jury will now decide the fate of a former forensic nurse in a high profile patient abuse trial.
NBC Connecticut Investigates broke the story of abuse at our state’s maximum security mental health hospital two years ago. It resulted in 10 arrests at the Whiting Forensic Hospital in Middletown. Four of those employees have already received sentences.
The essential question for the jury is a simple one.
Did former forensic nurse Mark Cusson abuse patient Bill Shehadi, or was he making the best of a bad situation with an exceedingly difficult and dangerous patient?
In closing arguments, Cusson attorney Norm Pattis told jurors “His moods can get to explosive points to rage in just a moment! And if you’re sitting next to him, in that bed, you have guess which it’s gonna be. The nice Bill, or the Bill that wants to get ya!”
Cusson is fighting 16 counts connected to the alleged abuse of Shehadi, incidents the state says are all on surveillance video, one even showing Cusson putting a dirty mop on shehadi’s head.
Cusson has denied putting a mop on Shehadi’s head, and says for well over a decade of caring for Shehadi, he had to come up with unorthodox ways of treating a violent patient, with little direction from hospital management.
Pattis said, “It’s arguable that Mr. Cusson could have made close judgement calls and be guilty of no crime.”
In summation, the prosecution questioned how, if Cusson’s techniques were so successful, why did he ever put them in the patient notes filed after every shift?
Assistant State’s Attorney Jeff Doskos said of Cusson, “He went rogue. He developed his own way handling of handling Mr. Shehadi clearly in conflict with the policies and rules of the hospital.”
The jury started deliberating after the lunch break, and was dismissed for the day after three hours.