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Napa State patient accused of murder

Friday, May 10, 2002

Register Staff Writer

Napa State Hospital patient Anthony Clark Gore, 39, was arraigned on Thursday afternoon on one count of felony murder of his hospital roommate.

On May 3, Dennis Wagner, 49, was found dead in his bed around 8 a.m. by another patient -- not Gore -- who notified hospital staff.

Thursday's court hearing was the second scheduled arraignment for Gore since his arrest on May 3. At a Tuesday arraignment, Gore refused to leave his county jail cell, where he is being held without bail, to appear in court.

Gore is scheduled to enter a plea on May 23.

At Thursday's hearing, his family filled almost one row in the courtroom gallery. Gore, dressed in jailhouse blues, smiled at them from behind the glass partition that keeps inmates sealed off from the courtroom.

Although a murder charge has been filed by the district attorney's office, prosecutors have not publicly said if Gore will be facing first or second degree murder charges.

First degree, which requires premeditation and planning, carries a 25-years-to-life sentence, said assistant district attorney Scott LeStrange, who is prosecuting the case.

"Second-degree murder carries 15 years to life," he said.

Autopsy results revealed Wagner died from asphyxiation due to strangulation, according to sheriff's Capt. Mike Loughran.

The homicide happened in the T-12 ward.

Although the patients and staff may wander from room to room, the ward is locked down.

In addition to Gore and Wagner, one other patient lived in the room. No information was available about the other roommate, but he is not a suspect in the homicide, according to investigators.

Lupe Rincon, hospital spokeswoman, said a patient found Wagner dead in his bed around 8 a.m., and summoned help. She said the victim was seen sleeping when staff conducted a routine bed check around 6:30 a.m.

Wagner and Gore had been roommates for some time but LeStrange said he is unaware of any previous confrontations involving the pair.

According to a police report, hospital staff told deputies that Gore had cuts on his knuckles and blood on his hands and clothes on the day of the homicide.

Both Gore and Wagner were admitted to the hospital on a ruling of innocent by reason of insanity.

Gore has been a Napa State patient since January 2000 and Wagner since December 1998.

As of Thursday, coroner's investigators had not been able to locate Wagner's next of kin, Loughran said.

Marsha Dorgan can be reached at 256-2214 or



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