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Fosters Daily Democrat
By DANIELLE CURTIS
Thursday, August 11, 2011
Rochester bat attack suspect to stay in jail on $50g cash bail
ROCHESTER – More than 30 individuals crowded District Court Wednesday morning to watch the arraignment of the teenager charged with beating a local couple with a baseball bat.
Phillip A. Eisenberg, 17, of 6 Darby Lane in Gonic was arraigned via video from Strafford County House of Corrections while the crowd, primarily comprised of friends, family and supporters of the alleged victims, and Eisenberg’s parents, looked on.
Eisenberg’s alleged victims, Robert and Kristin Cox, were also in attendance.
Eisenberg is charged with a Class A felony count of burglary and two Class A felony counts of first-degree assault, alleging he entered the 202 Estes Road home of Robert and Kristin Cox at approximately 4:30 a.m. Friday and attacked them with a baseball bat.
Eisenberg’s attorney, Kimberly Schoen, entered no pleas for all three of the charges.
In court Wednesday, Asst. County Attorney Dorothy Walch described the attack in detail, saying the couple was sleeping in their living room when Eisenberg entered the home. Walch said Eisenberg took items from the home before going outside to the family’s barn and taking a bat.
Eisenberg allegedly then went to the back door of the home, took off his shoes, entered the home, and hit both Robert and Kristin Cox multiple times with the bat, Walch said.
According to an affidavit submitted to the court by Detective Sgt. Anthony Deluca, the couple’s teenage son, Dylan Cox, heard his parents screaming and was able to fight off Eisenberg and stop the attack.
While Dylan was fighting off Eisenberg, the affidavit reads, the living room light was turned on and both Robert and Kristin Cox were able to identify their attacker as Eisenberg, who used to be friends with Dylan.
Robert, Kristin, and Dylan Cox all suffered injuries in the assault. According to Walch, Kristin Cox has a broken nose, broken orbital bones and permanent nerve damage and paralysis to one side of her face.
Robert Cox suffered a broken elbow and broken knee cap, Walch said, and has undergone reconstructive surgery for his knee injury.
After the attack, officers responded to Eisenberg’s home in search of him, but he was not there, according to the affidavit.
Phillip Eisenberg’s mother, Sheryl Eisenberg, the Rochester city clerk, called police soon after, telling them that Phillip had just called her and that he was on medication and “in a bad place,” the affidavit said.
Police later learned Eisenberg was being transported to Portsmouth Regional Hospital by his mother, according to the affidavit.
According to Police Capt. Paul Callaghan, Eisenberg was arrested at the hospital with the assistance of Portsmouth police.
Eisenberg remained in the hospital until Tuesday afternoon, when he was medically cleared to leave by hospital and was taken into police custody, Walch said.
Eisenberg’s removal from the hospital, his mental state, and his bail were all discussed at his arraignment Wednesday, where prosecutors and Schoen argued about the treatment Eisenberg should receive and where he should be held.
Walch asked Judge Daniel Cappiello to set Eisenberg’s bail at $50,000 cash, with the conditions that if bail is posted Eisenberg must be monitored by Community Corrections, submit to frequent drug tests and wear a GPS device.
The prosecution also asked that Eisenberg be ordered to have no contact with the Cox family, have no entry into the Cox home, be subjected to a curfew of 7 p.m. to 8 a.m. and sign a waiver of extradition.
Eisenberg, Walch said, is a danger to the community.
“This was an attack that was not provoked in any way,” Walch said. “There is no history of anger, revenge, or anything else between the victims and the defendant. He simply targeted this home … and this family is going to suffer because of that.”
Eisenberg’s defense, however, painted a much different picture.
Eisenberg, Schoen said, graduated from high school in June, where he earned top grades, and was planning on going to a four-year state college in a few weeks.
He was seeing a therapist and a counselor, she said, and had recently changed medications for psychiatric issues, which Schoen identified as ADHD, major depression, and hearing out-of-the-ordinary sounds.
On these new medications, Schoen said, Eisenberg’s symptoms were getting worse and he was suicidal. She described his alleged attack on the Cox family as a “mental break.”
“There was no animosity between my client and (the Cox family),” Schoen said. “That’s the one thing the state is right about. My client is a caring, loving person, and this is so completely out of his character.”
Schoen also questioned the decision by police to remove Eisenberg from the hospital Tuesday, saying Eisenberg has been actively suicidal since his admission to the hospital Friday and should be held at the hospital where he can be properly treated and monitored.
Schoen added that Eisenberg’s doctor had recommended to her that her client be sent for psychiatric care at the state hospital and asked that the judge order Eisenberg to be transported there immediately following the hearing.
Hospital staff were planning on sending him by ambulance to that hospital Wednesday morning to be voluntarily admitted, Schoen said, but that this was no longer possible after police took him into custody Tuesday night after a day of what Schoen described as “harassing” Eisenberg’s doctor at Portsmouth Regional Hospital by calling her multiple times.
“I’m appalled,” Schoen said. “They’re not putting his treatment needs first, but are enacting some sort of vengeance.”
Schoen also said she is not confident Eisenberg will be given the proper medications at the jail and that he needs more treatment.
The prosecution fired back, however, with Walch saying that when police removed Eisenberg from the hospital Tuesday night, medical staff insisted he was medically clear to leave and that no medical personnel who had met with Eisenberg had written out an Involuntary Emergency Admission (IEA) request.
Without an IEA, Walch said, it is too risky to allow Eisenberg to be admitted to the state hospital.
“If he is not admitted on an involuntary basis he is free to walk out at any time and the hospital can do nothing,” Walch said. “That is the concern of the state. He has shown himself to be a significant danger to his victims’ and anyone’s house he decides to walk into.”
Of Schoen’s other allegations, including the police’s harassment of Eisenberg’s doctor, Walch said they were “intentionally misleading,” and that police only called the hospital once Tuesday to check on the status of Eisenberg. Police did receive two calls from the hospital, however, saying that Eisenberg was clear to leave.
Among the more than 30 minutes of debate between the prosecution and defense, Eisenberg, who could be seen on a small television screen wearing a tan jumpsuit and bowing his head for most of the hearing, said only one word “OK” in response to Judge Cappiello addressing him at the beginning of the hearing.
After the long debate regarding Eisenberg’s treatment needs, Judge Cappiello made his decision.
“What I see is a very disturbed young man,” he said.
Judge Cappiello set bail at $50,000 cash and accepted the bail conditions set forth by the prosecution. He also ordered a mental health referral for Eisenberg, and ordered that if in the future an IEA to the state hospital is in place for the teenager, bail will convert to $50,000 personal recognizance during his hospital stay.
After the arraignment, Kristin and Robert Cox who was sitting in a wheelchair to accommodate the large cast on his left leg commented briefly on the arraignment.
Kristin Cox said she was pleased with the result of the hearing and was feeling good about the outcome of the case.
Also after the hearing, Police Capt. Paul Callaghan said he is confident in the prosecution’s case.
“These are just preliminary charges and I’m confident the charges will be brought forth,” he said.
Callaghan also said the jail where Eisenberg is being held has a trained medical staff and that dealing with inmates with psychiatric issues is nothing new to them.
Eisenberg’s parents left the courtroom immediately after the hearing and were not available for comment.
Eisenberg is due back in court for a probable cause hearing on Thursday, Aug. 18, at 8:30 a.m.
@Cutline nameline:Phillip A. Eisenberg