May 30, 2020

2 officers hurt in capture of psychiatric patients

AUGUSTA – Two forensic patients were apprehended hours after their escape Christmas evening from the Augusta Mental Health Institute, authorities said.

Two Augusta police officers suffered minor injuries during one of the arrests.

Charles Miles, 24, was charged with escape after being captured by Capitol Security officers Thursday night on the campus of the state psychiatric hospital, police records indicated.

Miles had been acquitted in 2001 of arson by reason of insanity in connection with a 1999 fire which caused $3 million in damage to the Skowhegan State Fairgrounds.

Thomas John Mulkern, 18, of Augusta, who had been sent to AMHI on a suicide watch from the Kennebec County Correctional Facility, was arrested early Friday at a home on Gannett Street, police said.

Mulkern was arrested after he jumped from a second-floor window, police said, and two officers were injured when they tried to break his fall or handcuff him.

Mulkern, who was not injured, was charged with escape, refusing to submit to arrest or detention, and violation of probation.

Jamie Morrill, associate commissioner for the Department of Behavioral and Developmental Services, refused to identify the escapees, but police arrest logs listed their names.

Morrill said an investigation was underway to determine how the two men escaped from the high-security hospital. He said the two posed no threat of violence.

“I don’t want to minimize the issue, but I don’t want people to overreact either,” Morrill said. “I spoke to the medical director and the superintendent, and they felt strongly that [the two escapees] were not a threat of harm to the community.”

Forensic patients at AMHI are confined there either because they have been acquitted of a crime due to insanity, they were found incompetent to stand trial for a crime, or they were sent there for treatment or evaluation of a mental disorder from a county jail.

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