Twenty years after he stabbed his 21-month-old son a dozen times at his home in Pawcatuck, William P. Bigouette has been discharged from the supervision of the state agency that monitors the criminally insane.
Judge Joseph J. Purtill had committed Bigouette to the custody of the Psychiatric Security Review Board in 1994 after finding he was not guilty of attempted murder by reason of insanity.
Bigouette, who had a family history of mental illness and alcoholism, had been living in fear that he was going to lose his job as a computer programmer at Analysis & Technology and had started to drink heavily, according to court records. He said he stabbed his son on April 16, 1992, to save him from a life of poverty. The child underwent emergency surgery and survived. He is now attending graduate school in the Midwest, according to court testimony.
Diagnosed with severe depression, Bigouette was confined at the Whiting Forensic Institute and Norwich Hospital for several years before he transitioned into community supervision. Now 52, he is living independently in Manchester and working in the clubhouse at Community Health Resources, a mental heath program where he also is a client. According to testimony Thursday, Bigouette is well-regarded by staff and clients.
New London prosecutor Lawrence J. Tytla and public defender Bruce A. Sturman, who have a longtime involvement with the case, were in agreement Thursday that a judge should grant Bigouette's request to be released from the PSRB's supervision.
"He's a success story, in my opinion," Sturman said.
Since being released to the community 11 or 12 years ago, Bigouette has been nonviolent and has worked hard to address his illness, Sturman said. He continues to take his medication and to attend 12-step meetings, Sturman said.
Tytla noted the PSRB had recommended Bigouette's discharge.
"The board runs a pretty tight ship," Tytla said. "They are pretty much on top of every aspect of the lives of the people under their supervision. We know nothing with absolute certainty. We can't predict someone's behavior in the future. But as Mr. Bigouette sits here today, he has done everything he should."
Judge Susan B. Handy granted Bigouette's release from PSRB supervision, noting he appears to be in full remission from his psychiatric disability and that clinicians have determined he is no longer a danger to himself or society.
"Good luck, Mr. Bigouette," she said. "I'll ask you to keep up the work you've done."