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Man pleads insanity in fatal attack on Californian

A man pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity yesterday in the 2013 stabbing death of a California woman visiting New Hampshire for business, and a judge ordered him to the New Hampshire State Prison for at least five years.

Prosecutors agreed that 38-year-old Rodney Hill of West Danville, Vt., was insane Jan. 28, 2013, when he randomly attacked Catherine Houghton, 70, of San Francisco at the Hampton Inn in Littleton.

Houghton, a 1960 graduate and member of the board of trustees of the White Mountain School in Bethlehem, was in town for board meetings.

As part of the agreement, Hill acknowledged that he is a danger to himself and others.

Hill was sent to the secure psychiatric ward at the state prison where his status will be reviewed every five years. Under the arrangement, he could be released in as little as five years or be kept longer if a judge determines he remains dangerous.

Hill told police he believed he was Jesus and that Houghton was the devil or his father out to hurt his family.

According to authorities, Hill also said he was going through a divorce and was angry about an email he had gotten from his boss when he punched and stabbed Houghton. A self-employed welder who also recently worked at the Ryegate Power Station, Hill said he was taking an anti-psychotic medication used to treat schizophrenia and bipolar depression.

Prosecutors have said Houghton’s family will be kept up to date about any future hearings.

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