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WEB EXCLUSIVE - Dalton to stay in mental hospital

Norwalk Reflector Staff • Oct 29, 2015 at 12:46 PM

The stabbing victim put her visibly shaking hands in front of her, saying she still has anxiety attacks over the 2004 violent altercation with her former live-in boyfriend. She has been going to Firelands Counseling & Recovery Services sporadically.

"I'm still taking the antidepressants and nerve pills," Wakeman resident Susan Terlizzi said. "And I'm on one now."

Terlizzi took the medication before Wednesday's hearing when she came face-to-face with her attacker and now estranged boyfriend, Rodney Dalton, 47, formerly of 5810 E. U.S. 20, Lot 1, Wakeman. On Jan. 5, 2005, a judge found Dalton not guilty by reason of insanity of attempted murder, felonious assault and disrupting public service for attacking Terlizzi and slaughtering two dogs during an alleged mental episode.

"He's faked it all along," Huron County Prosecutor Russell Leffler said after the hearing. "The judge saw it differently."

Visiting Common Pleas Judge Judith Cross, who presided over Dalton's bench trial, ruled Wednesday to follow the recommendation of Northcoast Behavioral Health Center to keep Dalton there for another 90 days. He has been there since his trial. A further hearing is scheduled for Oct. 1.

Dalton is only allowed visitation with relatives and is not allowed to contact Terlizzi off the campus of the mental facility, Leffler said.

Defense attorney Laura Perkovic couldn't be reached for comment.

Cross, after the hearing, told the defendant: "Mr. Dalton, it seems like you're doing well. Keep it up."

Leffler said Dalton needs to remain committed and on his medication for being "basic bipolar with schizophrenic features."

"He's still at risk to others and himself," the prosecutor said. "Northcoast is the least restrictive environment in which he can (be)."

Terlizzi has been visiting Dalton monthly at Northcoast.

"I've been standing by him all this time," said the victim, who started dating Dalton two years before he attacked her.

Terlizzi noted there have been "family issues the entire time," meaning Dalton's mother has been cold to her recently and has "made it clear" she doesn't want Terlizzi to be with Dalton.

"I'm treated like I have the bubonic plague," she added.

The last words the couple said to each other were during a recent argument in which Dalton called Terlizzi an abusive name, prompting her to hang up the telephone.

Terlizzi said she and Dalton looked each other before the hearing, but he didn't say anything before she took her seat as a court observer.

"He didn't acknowledge me which upsets me even more," she said.

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