Dalton to be released

Rodney Dalton is getting out of the mental hospital. Visiting Common Pleas Judge Judith Cross ruled this week the former Wakeman resident doesn't represent a "substantial risk of harm to himself or others." She said Dalton has been taking his medication, is currently sober and doesn't have recent homicidal, suicidal or violent behavior.
Cary Ashby
Jul 25, 2010

Rodney Dalton is getting out of the mental hospital.

Visiting Common Pleas Judge Judith Cross ruled this week the former Wakeman resident doesn't represent a "substantial risk of harm to himself or others." She said Dalton has been taking his medication, is currently sober and doesn't have recent homicidal, suicidal or violent behavior.

"Looking at the defendant as he is today, under medication, he does not represent a substantial risk," she wrote.

Dalton has been at Northcoast Behavioral Health Center since his December 2004 trial on charges of attempted murder, felonious assault and disrupting public service. In early 2005, Cross found Dalton not guilty by reason of insanity of brutally attacking his then live-in girlfriend with a knife and stabbing two dogs during a Jan. 17, 2004 "manic-psychotic break." One of the animals died.

Cross recommended Dalton stay in Toledo, instead of Huron and Erie counties, to take advantage of public transportation. He doesn't have a driver's license.

Defense attorney Laura Perkovic said having Dalton in Toledo means there are "more resources for him," so he can comply with the terms of his conditional release. Dalton must maintain his appointments with his psychiatrist and forensic monitor. He also is required to obey all laws, take his medication and is prohibited from using drugs or alcohol.

Erna Gerki, Dalton's mother, is pleased her son is being released from the hospital.

"It would be nice if he were closer," the Vermilion woman said.

Gerki said her son has been a big help whenever he's been home by staining floors, cutting the grass and taking limbs of various trees. Dalton has been at his mother's rural Erie County home about six times in the last year.

She recalled "a wonderful time" when her son played his guitar while she played the accordion.

"He's never, ever been a violent person. We're shocked," Gerki said.

"He's never, ever been a risk. ... He doesn't have a bad bone in his body. Whatever he did wasn't his fault," she said.

Cross said Dalton "appears to take care of his physical needs" and can function as an adult. While he needs medication and "some supervision," she wrote, Dalton "is not at this time a mentally ill person subject to hospitalization."

"My opinion is the same as the judge's," Perkovic said. "There is always a risk, but the court says he's not a substantial risk."

Perkovic said it's illegal "to keep him hospitalized indefinitely," pointing out the purpose of mental hospitals is to treat an acute problem. She stressed that hospitals shouldn't be used as punishment.

The attorney said her client was "untreated" when he committed the original offense, but has been diagnosed with bi-polar disorder and stable for about the last three years.

"He has to maintain a constant lithium level," Perkovic said.

The state contends Dalton is a violent person, but she said the incidents were isolated when he was untreated and undiagnosed.

Northcoast treating psychiatrist Dr. Robert Karp, while testifying last month, said he didn't believe Dalton would benefit from further hospitalization. He described Dalton as "manic with psychotic symptoms," which is "now in complete remission."

Dr. James Karpawich, an independent clinical psychiatrist, testified March 25 for the state. He diagnosed Dalton with having anti-social personality disorder. Karpawich said the defendant is "basically a psychopath" and expressed concerns about his violent tendencies toward women.

Huron County Prosecutor Russell Leffler, last month in his closing statement, said it's difficult to believe Dalton's only "problem" is having bipolar disorder, which nobody had diagnosed before early 2004. He told the court the community shouldn't have to "put up with" Dalton dealing with unresolved mental issues while he is out of the mental hospital.

Perkovic said Thursday that Leffler failed to prove her client is mentally ill and needs to be hospitalized.

Comments

cls77

THIS IS JUST PLAIN WRONG. WHAT is to say he will not stop taking his medications, THEN WHAT? He HAS MENTAL ISSUES and WE as a Public should not have to deal with his INSTABILITY. How UNFAIR to all of us in the public that must now wonder what he will do next.

Chad Eitle (Ano...

Come on....This guy attacked his girlfriend with a knife, and then killed the dog, and he's not dangerous? Good lord, look at that picture, it says it all. Where can I send my $5 contribution for a haircut for this guy? I know this a stock photo but lets hope Mr. Dalton gets that rug busted before he is released. I think since judge Cross should let this guy stay at her house since he's not a risk. Just hope she doesn't have any dogs....

David Deerest.

I agree with Chad and smalltowner. Let him stay at Judge Judy's house. She's the one who's trusting him. And like his momma is going to say anything bad...she's in the mindset that her boy is an angel..."He's never, ever been a risk. ... He doesn't have a bad bone in his body. Whatever he did wasn't his fault," she said. She recalled "a wonderful time" when her son played his guitar while she played the accordion.

Ah, good times....

Chad Eitle (Ano...

I especially love the part where good ol mom states: "He's never been a violent person." She was obviously speaking of a time before he tried to stab his girlfriend, and the stabbed her dog to death. I would seem to think this would be exhibiting "violent" behavior. Then she goes on to try and make more excuses by saying: "whatever he did wasn't his fault." So, who's fault was it mom? Mine? Deer Dave's? The dogs? No, I think it was your son's fault. Your son having mental problems does not excuse his behavior. And if those mental problems are the reason for his behavior, then he shouldn't be let out. Not guilty by reason of insanity means he is insane. So, you're telling me he was insane when he committed the crimes, but everything is just peachy now? What is this world coming to?

David Deerest.

Cross said Dalton "appears to take care of his physical needs" and can function as an adult.

I hope those needs don't involve his mom or a picnic table, if you know what I'm sayin'....

swiss family

wow, talk about a failure of the justice system !!!! this is totally unacceptable.. and talk about denial, his mom is totally living in denial, saying that this isn't his fault, and he never hurt anyone... wow !!!!

i hope that they warn the people in Toledo that they are releasing him, and he will be walking among them, walking the streets, and riding the bus.. etc.. he is a complete threat and danger to anyone around him, and those poor people have no idea that he is even there..

when he kills, or attack his next victims, i hop that the judge and doctor can sleep well at night, knowing that they were instrumental that they allowed this carnage to continue..... lock him up for a long, long time... do it now, before he hurts or kills again

Mattsherman

We need to keep track of the crazys just like the pervs

so people can use websites like this close by to protect our communitys from perverts.

http://www.esorn.ag.state.oh.us/...

swiss family

maybe this guy could apply for the Norwalk school principal position??? after all he is completely sane and harmless now, just ask his MOM.... and i truly believe that he wouldn't lie to anyone if he got caught falsifying fire drills, or chewing tobacco on school property!!! and this way there would be a legitimate reason why most parent wont go to the open houses at the school, or the parent/teacher conferences..it would automatically be accepted for them to say that they don't go because they don't like this guy, and they would actually be able to believe their kids when the kids get a bad grade, and they tell the parents that the principal is "out to get them "!!!!