Lawyer: Mental issues behind hammer attack — (New Britain Herald)

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New Britain Herald

Wednesday, June 25, 2014 10:23 PM EDT


NEW BRITAIN — A defense attorney is hoping to show his that client was affected by mental health issues when he hit a woman in the head with a hammer nearly a dozen times last July.
Richard Campbell, 43, of no permanent address, is accused of attacking the woman after she told him that he couldn’t stay at her home.

Campbell is on trial for attempted murder and assault. Dr. Andrew Meisler, a psychologist hired by the defense to examine Campbell, testified Tuesday that the homeless man told him he was on anti-psychotic and anti-depressant drugs at the time of the attack.  Meisler said the medications could have affected Campbell’s behavior.

According to police reports, the woman and her family were celebrating her 40th birthday and she wound up telling Campbell, a longtime family friend, that he could stay the night in her son’s bedroom. But she also told him that he couldn’t stay any longer than that one night, reports said.

The woman told investigators that she and her son went to sleep in her bed and both woke up around 5:30 a.m. the next day, when Campbell struck her in the side of the head with hammer.

He was shouting, “I’m going to kill you,” as he continued to hit her, she said. The woman scramble away and out of the bedroom, but he threw her down the stairs.

The woman and the boy fled and sought help from neighbors. Police arrived, finding the woman suffering from several head wounds and the house splattered with blood from the bedroom to the first floor.

Campbell was spotted and arrested in a small clearing in the area of Winfield and Marwood drives. He said he had awoken to find himself standing over the woman and started to strike her with an object, but he couldn’t recall what.

“Campbell stated that he heard voices that made him do it,” court papers said.   The prosecutor, New Britain State’s Attorney Brian Preleski, reminded Meisler during cross-examination that the psychologist didn’t actually know if Campbell had taken any of the drugs before the attack.

Campbell is being tried before New Britain Superior Court Judge Francis D’Addabbo, who will render the verdict.

Lisa Backus can be reached at (860) 225-4601, ext. 306 or