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Napa State patient gets two years for attack

Judge Kroyer to let prison authorities decide if Boddie goes to a mental hospital

Thursday, July 7, 2005

By MARSHA DORGAN
Register Staff Writer

A Napa State Hospital patient convicted of severely beating another patient was sentenced to two years in state prison Wednesday.

At her sentencing, Precious Lashounda Boddie, 25, asked Napa County Superior Court Judge Stephen Kroyer to place her on probation and let her stay at the state hospital until her conservator could find another locked-down facility to house her.

Kroyer denied probation, stating he belived that she would no br able to follow the terms of probation because of her mental state.

"Dangerous people belong in prison. Mentally ill people deserve treatment. Those with both belong in a state hospital," Kroyer said.

But since Boddie did not enter a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity, Kroyer could not sentence her to a state mental hospital.

Once Boddie arrives at state prison, she will be given a mental health evaluation. At that time prison staff can recommend she be relocated a state mental hospital.

Kroyer said he believed Boddie would not be in prison for more than a few days before she will be headed to Patton State Mental Hospital east of Los Angeles.

Boddie, along with fellow Napa State patient Shaniqua Anderson, 19, was originally charged with attempted murder. Last month Boddie entered a no contest plea to a charge of assault with a deadly weapon, causing great bodily harm.

At the sentencing, Napa County Deputy District Attorney Fred Gutierrez said the female victim suffered black eyes, a swollen face and was bleeding from the nose and mouth.

"She suffered a severe beating, which will have long-lasting affect on her," Gutierrez said.

Gutierrez described the attack, saying Boddie was kicking and punching the victim in the face. "She choked her. Witnesses said the victim was turning blue," he said.

He said although Boddie had a long history of mental illness, she did not plead insanity. "She understands what she did. She knows the difference between right and wrong," he said. "The purpose of prison is punishment and to protect society. If she gets probation, she will be released right back to where she was and would have access to the victim."

Napa County Deputy Public Defender Jess Raphael argued that the victim started the melee. He said the victim kicked his called his client, who is African-American, and called her a racial epithet.

Raphael focused most of his arguments on Boddie's mental illness, saying she would not gt proper treatment in prison.

He said Boddie had been in and out of mental institutions since she was 12. She was sent to Napa State Hospital two years ago by a San Francisco court order. At that time she was a patient at San Francisco General Hospital.

"Napa State knew she was dangerous to others and to herself. They also knew the relationship between (the victim) and Ms. Boddie, yet they put them on the same floor," Raphael said.

Raphael accused state hospital staff of "trying to do everything they can to keep her out of their hospital, and the district attorney's office is acting as their agent. Why is Napa State Hospital incapable of handling Ms. Boddie?"

Raphael said if the assault had happened on the streets, it never would have resulted in an attempted murder charge.

"She didn't choose to be the way she is. What she had done reflects her mental illness. You don't send people to prison because they are mentally ill," he said.

Gutierrez accused Raphael of using Boddie's mental illness as "the reason this happened."

"I never said she should go to prison because Napa State can't handle her." he said. "She earned a prison sentence. The night of the beating, six nurses were hiding behind locked doors because she was vicious."

Boddie admitted to Judge Kroyer that "what I did was wrong. But she called me (a racial epithet). She walked over to me and kicked me and told me stop snoring. She hit me first. I'm not a bad person. If I am so dangerous why did they put me with other clients?"

At Anderson's hearing last month, the court ordered she undergo a psychiatric evaluation to determine if she was mentally capable to participate in her own defense. On June 29, the court ruled she was competent. She also has pleaded no contest to one count of assault with a deadly weapon, causing great bodily harm. She is facing a maximum two-year prison sentence.


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