October 6, 2010

Son Pleads Insanity on Charge of Killing Mother in Cayuga Heights Home

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Ian Butler, 30, was committed to Rochester Psychiatric Center, a secure mental-health facility, on Tuesday after he pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity for the murder of his mother. Butler was arrested and charged with second-degree murder on September 23, 2009, when police officers discovered the body of Butler’s mother, Carol E. Butler, in her home at 522 Cayuga Heights Rd.

Carol Butler, 53, died of physical assault. Police found Ian Butler holding a wooden cross and a picture frame at the murder scene, according to the Ithaca Journal.

Scott Miller, Butler’s attorney, said psychiatric reports concluded that Butler was likely suffering from postictal psychosis, a complication of chronic epilepsy that includes symptoms such as seizures, hallucinations, mood changes and aggressive behavior. At a hearing on June 4, family members testified about Butler’s mental condition and Tompkins County Judge John Rowley accepted his not guilty plea by reason of insanity, according to the The Journal.

A letter from Assistant District Attorney Andrew Bonavia to Rowley noted that Butler had been prescribed Tegretol, an anti-seizure mediation, but was not taking it on a regular basis. According to The Journal, doctors at Rochester Psychiatric Center who examined Butler after the arrest confirmed that his behavior was “extremely psychotic.”

Butler was committed to the mental health facility for six months, and the length of his stay is dependent on a re-evaluation at the end of that time period. Dr. R.P. Singh, chief psychiatrist of Rochester Regional Forensic Unit, and Dr. Louise Sundararajan, licensed psychologist of RRFU, diagnosed Butler and will be in charge of his re-evaluation.

Tompkins County Sheriff’s Deputy Pete Walker and Cayuga Heights Police Officer Jerry Wright, who first responded to the scene, received a Kiwanis Club Frank G. Hammer Officer of the Month award for their calm and proper conduct during Ian Butler’s arrest.

Original Author: Andrew Hu