Thursday, November 16, 2000

Man, insane in slaying, gets 6 months in maximum security

By Sheila McLaughlin
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        LEBANON — A man who was insane when he killed his ex-wife's new husband was ordered Wednesday to spend at least the next six months in a maximum-security psychiatric center in Dayton.

        Warren County Judge P. Daniel Fedders of Common Pleas Court rejected a psychiatrist's recommendation that Jeffrey Bornhoeft be sent to a less-restrictive setting at Cincinnati's Pauline Warfield Lewis Center.

[photo] Jeffrey Bornhoeft is escorted toward a maximum-security psychiatric center Wednesday.
([name of photographer] photo)
| ZOOM |
        Judge Fedders said he had to take the public's safety into consideration when he ordered Mr. Bornhoeft to return to Twin Valley Psychiatric System at a prosecutor's request.

        In a letter to the court, Dr. Neal W. Dunsieth Jr., a forensic psychiatrist at Twin Valley, said the 31-year-old father of three exhibited psychopathic traits and suffered from depression, which is being treated with a combination of antidepressants.

        He said Mr. Bornhoeft does not show signs of being schizophrenic or of any other psychotic disorder.

        “We believe that Mr. Bornhoeft does not require hospitalization in a maximum security psychiatric facility. However, he does pose a likely risk to himself and to the community as evidenced by his recent past behavior,” Dr. Dunsieth wrote.

        Mr. Bornhoeft, shackled and wearing a stun belt over a burgundy plaid shirt and blue jeans, showed no emotion as the judge announced his decision.

        “Jeff said he liked the people up there and he'd just as well stay there until he gets his thoughts together,” defense lawyer John Quinn said after Wednesday's hearing.

        Mr. Bornhoeft's status will be reviewed in six months to determine if he can be sent to the Lewis Center, he said.

        Mr. Bornhoeft was hospitalized at the state-run Twin Valley center last week after court officials discovered he had smuggled razor blades into court in his mouth in an apparent plan to commit suicide if he was convicted in the death-penalty case.

        The sheriff's office, at the prosecutor's request, is conducting a criminal investigation into the razor-blade incident, but Prosecutor Tim Oliver has declined to say whether Mr. Bornhoeft will face charges.

        On Nov. 7, a jury of six men and six women found him not guilty by reason of insanity of aggravated murder and burglary in the April 7 shooting of Jamey Johnson, 23.

        Mr. Johnson was shot point-blank three times in the head while he slept. Mr. Bornhoeft admitted the slaying, but his lawyers said he was mentally ill.

        Mr. Johnson's relatives, who live in West Virginia, were not present at Wednesday's proceedings.

        Mr. Bornhoeft's mother wept after the hearing, but said she was pleased with the outcome.

        “We're happy Jeff's where he can get some help. That's the most important thing,” said Joy Bornhoeft, of Spring City, Tenn.

        “And we're thankful, too, that the jury was able to weigh all the information and see that's what he needed.”


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