The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

January 10, 2013

DHS: Security Hospital did not mishandle stabbing incident

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ST. PAUL —

The Department of Human Services both runs and regulates the Minnesota Security Hospital, a St. Peter facility that provides psychiatric treatment for nearly 400 adults committed as "mentally ill and dangerous."

The Minnesota Security Hospital has been under scrutiny for more than a year for licensing violations, staff injuries and the controversial tenure of administrator David Proffitt, who was forced to resign in March. The licensing investigation was conducted by the department's licensing division, which is separate from division that runs the Minnesota Security Hospital.

A 'STAR PATIENT' WITH A DARK SIDE

According to employees interviewed by investigators, Ewing was a "star patient" who mentored new patients and attended orientations of new employees where he would talk about life at the facility. He had gone on several passes with his mother that appeared to be normal and his mother attended treatment team meetings and talked to facility staff regularly.

Clinicians told investigators that Ewing never mentioned wanting to kill his mother and Ewing's file did not include any documentation of a conversation about homicidal thoughts, the investigative memorandum said.

But Ewing had a dark side. He was sent to the Minnesota Security Hospital after he bludgeoned his sister to death with a hammer on May 7, 1998. According to court records, Ewing had intended to kill his mother, but when she wasn't home, he decided to kill his sister, Mary Beth Ewing, instead. Ewing was covered in blood when deputies arrived. He told deputies that his sister was home "but she won't hurt you." Her body was found in an upstairs bedroom.

Several clinicians who evaluated Ewing after the murder found he was psychotic and delusional. He told clinicians that his mother was "evil" and "all powerful" and that she led a group of "bad guys" who conspired against him. He said he was receiving signs that he should kill his mother, including several boxes of dolls that he said "tripped the rage in me." He said he killed his sister because she was a "percentage" of his mother and was controlled by her.

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