Man who set fire in 1993 discharged from state supervision

A 54-year-old Norwich man who was found not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect after setting fire to his apartment building in 1993 has been discharged from state supervision after years of stable behavior.

Superior Court Judge Susan B. Handy ordered Craig Maxwell discharged from supervision based on a report from the Psychiatric Security Review Board and testimony from clinicians who have worked with Maxwell. Diagnosed with schizophrenia and substance abuse problems, Maxwell was initially confined at Norwich State Hospital. He was transferred to Connecticut Valley Hospital after the Norwich mental hospital closed, then moved into a supervised residential setting. He has been living independently in the community since 2009 and working part-time.

Prosecutor Lawrence J. Tytla did not object to defense attorney Peter E. Scillieri's motion to discharge Maxwell from the jurisdiction of the PSRB. According to doctors and social workers, Maxwell has been taking his medications as directed and exhibits no signs of psychosis or depression.

Maxwell had been charged with first-degree arson after setting fire to a couch and dresser in his apartment at 287 Central Ave., Norwich, at around midnight on Jan. 15, 1993. Several people were sleeping inside the apartment house at the time. At a hearing in December 1993, witnesses testified that Maxwell, who already had a long history of mental illness, had been talking to a jukebox at a tavern across the street hours earlier. Judge Joseph J. Purtill found Maxwell not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect and sentenced him to up to 25 years in psychiatric custody.


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