Noyes headed to state prison psychiatric unit after ruled incompetent to stand trial

  • FILE - In this June 21, 2016 file photo, Wendell Noyes appears via a video arraignment from the county jail in Stewartstown, N.H., as prosecutor Jane Young, right, listens in district court in Berlin, N.H. Noyes was charged with second-degree murder in the death of his 11-year-old stepdaughter Celina Cass, who was reported missing from her home on July 26, 2011. A court in Lancaster ruled Monday, Feb. 27, 2017, that Noyes was not competent to stand trial in Cass' death and charges were dropped. (AP Photo/Jim Cole, Pool, File)

Monitor staff
Published: 2/28/2017 5:56:26 PM

Found incompetent to stand trial in the murder of his stepdaughter Celina Cass, Wendell Noyes is still headed to prison.

Though he won’t be incarcerated, Noyes is going to the New Hampshire State Prison’s Secure Psychiatric Unit, where he will continue to undergo mental health evaluation.

Noyes was charged in the 2011 murder of 11-year-old Celina of West Stewartstown. He was arrested in June, when he was already undergoing mental health treatment at New Hampshire Hospital – the state’s psychiatric hospital in Concord.

Noyes is being moved to the state prison after he was deemed too dangerous to continue treatment at New Hampshire Hospital on Monday, spokesmen for the New Hampshire Department of Corrections and Department of Health and Human Services confirmed.

A court in Lancaster ruled Monday that Noyes, 52, was not competent to stand trial and that his competency cannot be restored. According to one evaluator, his mental illness creates a potentially serious likelihood of danger to others.

Noyes will be evaluated for involuntary treatment for the next 90 days, according to the court order.

Noyes has been in treatment at New Hampshire Hospital since December 2015. At that point, he was admitted to the hospital involuntarily for a period of up to five years.

After six months of treatment “with reasonably high doses of antipsychotic medications, the intensity of his psychotic symptoms improved but the paranoid and delusional thinking did not,” according to a court-ordered evaluation conducted in September by Dr. Albert Drukteinis.

Drukteinis wrote that having to prepare for and sit through a trial could “likely” worsen Noyes’s psychotic symptoms.

Additionally, the doctor concluded that Noyes’s mental illness “creates a potentially serious likelihood of danger to others.” There are numerous instances of Noyes threatening and acting aggressively to others documented in psychiatric records from 2004 to 2015.

Before Noyes is evaluated, it is unclear if he will ever be released back into the community. However, if Noyes is ever transferred to another facility or discharged, the state is supposed to notify Cass’s family and the police department wherever he is discharged.

New Hampshire Assistant Attorney General Jane Young told WMUR that if Noyes is deemed competent to stand trial in the future, her office would be able to reinstate the charges.

Noyes is accused of killing Celina Cass by submerging her body in the Connecticut River, where she was found six days after she was reported missing in July 2011. Her disappearance led to a search by federal, state and local law enforcement in the town of Stewartstown, a mile from the Canadian border.

(Material from the Associated Press was used in this report. Ella Nilsen can be reached at 369-3322, or on Twitter

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