The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

September 10, 2013

Ewing release questioned

Attorney said Ewing was showing psychotic symptoms before stabbing


Ewing's 2011 release from the hospital ended when his provisional release was revoked by staff. They were concerned he was becoming dangerous again because he was showing behaviors consistent with a relapse, Frie said. Ewing showed signs of paranoia, was becoming fascinated by letters and numbers, was stressed, and staff at the facility thought he might be hiding other symptoms because he was lying about his smoking.

So when the possibility of Ewing being released again was discussed on May 8, 2012, Frie said he wanted to move slowly. He also said the only type of release he would approve would be to a facility with more intense supervision than what was available at Cummings Care Center. Dunn asked Frie why he was so apprehensive about Ewing being released.

“One, it was what he did the first time to get in the hospital,” Frie said. “And he had been out twice before and it only lasted 30 or 40 days for both times. Why would we do it again?”

Ferrazzano also raised questions about whether Ewing should have been released from the hospital for an outing with his mother. He cited other relapse symptoms while he questioned Ewing's psychiatric nurse practitioner, Malinda Henderson, and one of his nurses, Eileen Hering, in the Forensic Transitions Program. Henderson said she supported Ewing's hopes for another provisional release.

The symptoms Ferrazzano addressed came from a document he described as Ewing's “relapse prevention plan.” They had been logged by hospital staff during the month before Olson was attacked, Ferrazzano said. They included having trouble getting to sleep, back pain, incidents of anger and becoming impatient with future plans. Another key factor that could lead to a relapse was the anniversary of Ewing's sister's death, the plan said.

Each of those symptoms were indicators Ewing's mental health could be deteriorating, which is described as decompensation by hospital staff, Ferrazzano said. Ewing had taken sleeping medication 19 times during April, the documents said. He had taken pain killers five times for back pain. During a meeting in April to discuss Ewing's progress and the upcoming quarterly meeting, Ewing became angry and swore at Hering. She had just told him his plans for release were going to be delayed.

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