Man held not criminally responsible in slaying Judge orders Moncarz held in mental institution

August 27, 1996|By Caitlin Francke | Caitlin Francke,SUN STAFF

The man who stabbed the daughter of state Sen. Arthur Dorman 16 times in February did not know right from wrong at the time, making him guilty of the crime but not criminally responsible, a Howard County circuit judge ruled yesterday.

Gary C. Moncarz was found guilty of murdering Barbara Susan Dorman, his girlfriend of about a year, but Judge Dennis M. Sweeney ruled that Moncarz suffers from a severe mental illness that prevented him from understanding his actions.

Moncarz, 42, a former accountant, was remanded to the custody of the state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene until he is deemed no longer a danger to society or to himself.

Yesterday, Dorman's family filled half the courtroom and her mother wept as prosecutors read an account of what happened the morning that Dorman, 36, an office manager at a mental health care group, stopped by Moncarz's North Laurel apartment out of concern that he was not taking his medication.

Friends of the family and state legislators said they hoped Moncarz -- who has been in nine psychiatric hospitals in 13 years -- would stay institutionalized for the rest of his life.

"I just hope [the insanity defense] is not used as a tool somewhere in the near future and he's back out in the community again," said Sen. Leo E. Greene, a Prince George's Democrat. "That's where we have to make sure that doesn't happen."

State's Attorney Marna McLendon said psychiatrists will determine when Moncarz can be released but that he likely will spend a long time in an institution. Moncarz would have to pass several internal hearings before he could be released, and then the court would have to authorize it.

Assistant State's Attorney Michael Rexroad said he would oppose Moncarz's release.

"The difficulty is knowing intellectually this is an appropriate case for 'not criminally responsible' and wanting emotionally for their to be meaningful punishment for the senseless death of a young woman," McLendon said. "This isn't a comfortable resolution. There is no prosecutor or victim that is ever happy with not criminally responsible."

Moncarz and Dorman met in a Jewish singles group. She and her family knew about Moncarz's mental problems but he seemed all right when he was taking his medication, Rexroad said.

Family members had tried to dissuade her from continuing the relationship after Moncarz threatened to kill Dorman when he stopped taking his medication and was hospitalized in the fall 1995, Rexroad said.

Just before the slaying, Moncarz again stopped his medication, became agitated and began suffering grandiose delusions -- telling doctors that once on a trip through Laurel he thought he was going to be asked to run for mayor, Rexroad said.

Dorman went to see Moncarz on her way to work Feb. 12. Moncarz told police he thought Dorman was carrying a knife when he saw her. Later, he told doctors he didn't realize it was Dorman.

"He claimed it was like a shadow," a court statement said. "He felt a magnetic pull; he had to get a knife. The defendant related that he recalls not seeing any blood and thinking the victim was just a shell and her soul was not there."

He told police: "I got a knife and stabbed her as hard as I could."

Dorman had 16 wounds to her chest, back and arms. Cuts on her hand, wrist and fingers showed she was trying to defend herself, Rexroad said. Moncarz -- found wearing bloody clothes -- later confessed to police, Rexroad said.

In court yesterday, a psychologist from the Clifton Perkins Hospital Center testified that Moncarz suffered from a bipolar disorder with psychotic features, meaning he periodically lapsed into bouts of mood disorders and become delusional. He became ill at 29 and since then had been diagnosed several times, Dr. Michael Sweeda testified. When Moncarz became severely ill, he could turn violent, Sweeda said.

Moncarz was evaluated by two state doctors, as well as one hired by the defense. All came to the same conclusion.

After the onset of his illness, Moncarz held jobs as an accountant but eventually would lapse into his illness and either quit or be asked to resign, Sweeda said.

He was married and has children but is getting a divorce, Sweeda said. Days before he killed Dorman, Moncarz told his brother he was considering moving in with her, Rexroad said in court.

At Dorman's funeral, her sister Jan talked of her sister's idealism, tenacity and strength.

"I trust and hope you are in a place of peace and love," she said. "And in that place as well as in our family, in our hearts, you will live forever."

Pub Date: 8/27/96

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.