Trial to start in case of Norwich man charged with killing pregnant wife
The man who police say confessed to stabbing to death his pregnant wife in 2016 because he thought she was a “voodoo priestess” who had cast spells on him is set to go to trial on Wednesday.
Patrick Antoine, 46, a native of Haiti who said he legally came to the U.S. with his wife in 2013, has chosen to be tried for murder before a three-judge panel in New London Superior Court.
Antoine’s attorney, Robert F. Kappes, will pursue an insanity defense and the possibility that Antoine be confined at the state’s psychiatric hospital rather than prison.
The case is being tried before judges Ernest Green Jr., Shari A. Murphy and Hillary Strackbein.
Antoine has been held in prison on a $2 million bond since his arrest by Norwich police on the morning of June 2, 2016. On that date, Antoine showed up in the lobby of Norwich Police headquarters covered in blood and declared to Norwich Police Sgt. Jonathan Ley, “I killed my wife,” records show.
At the same time Antoine was speaking to officers, Norwich firefighters had responded to Antoine’s apartment at 283-285 Franklin St. where they found the body of Antoine’s wife, 37-year-old Margarette Mady. Burned and bloodied, Mady was pronounced dead at the scene.
Police said Antoine admitted to arguing with his wife and then stabbing her multiple times with a wooden-handled steak knife knife and using a lighter to set fire to curtains in multiple rooms in the home.
Mady had suffered lacerations and stab wounds to her head and face, upper and lower extremities, along with defensive wounds to her hands. She was eight months pregnant.
“The accused stated that he and his wife (the victim) had been engaged in a verbal argument in the morning hours,” the police report states. “The accused believed the victim was a Voodoo Priestess who had cast several spells on him over the last couple of years. The accused knew the victim was eight months pregnant with a child he believed was not his and was told by the victim on multiple occasions that he would be dead by July as a sacrifice prior to the child being born. The accused truly believed the victim was going to kill him and had been making him deathly ill over the past couple of years.”
Kappes, Antoine’s attorney, notified the state in 2019 of his intention to pursue an insanity defense and introduce testimony related to the “existence and nature of mental disease and defect.”
The judges hearing the case can rule that the state proved its case but decide Antoine’s defense established that at the time Antoine committed the crime “he lacked substantial capacity as a result of mental disease or defect to appreciate the wrongfulness of his conduct or control his conduct.”
If the judges rule in favor of the defense, Antoine would be found not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect and committed to Whiting Forensic Hospital under the care of Psychiatric Security Review Board. Otherwise, Antoine faces up to more than 100 years in prison on three felonies: murder, first-degree arson and assault on a pregnant woman resulting in termination of pregnancy.
Kappes said the reason for the defense is to get Antoine in a place where he would be able to receive treatment for his mental health needs.
Antoine’s competency to stand trial was initially called into question early in the court proceedings. The court, in 2016, found him not competent, or unable to understand the proceedings or aid in his own defense. He spent several months in a state psychiatric facility before he was “restored to competency.”
There are different standards for competency and insanity. Competency is the ability to understand court proceedings and aid in his own defense.
The case is being being prosecuted by State’s Attorney Paul Narducci, who declined to comment on details of the state’s case. Narducci did say the case is one of the oldest pending murder cases in the region and was delayed in part because of the pandemic and also because both sides had sought expert witnesses in the case related to Antoine’s mental health.
Some of Antoine’s background is contained in a competency report issued in Dec. 21 by the state Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services. Antoine met and married his wife in Haiti. Mady was an American citizen of Haitian descent who sponsored him to become a permanent resident, Antoine reported to investigators.
While he told investigators he has no history of mental illness, Antoine did admit being taken to the William W. Backus Hospital in Feb. 11, 2016 - less than four months before killing his wife - for a psychiatric evaluation.
“He told a social worker he believed that things related to ‘the devil’ were going on at home and that this interfered with his sleep.’ He endorsed the belief that someone was poisoning his food and that this had made him weak, the competency report states.
Antoine also recalled an overnight stay in the emergency department of a hospital in Haiti where he had a similar experience but “he had been able to end the problem by praying,” according to the report.
His wife, at that time, had written a letter stating that four years prior Antoine told his wife her family members wanted to kill him and that other wanted to harm him with witchcraft. He also reported auditory hallucinations that he combats by play playing music loudly “to drown out the voices,” the report states.
Editor’s note: This version corrects the spelling of attorney Robert Kappes.