11/19/2010 // San Francisco, CA // Mary Alexander // Mary Alexander- Bay Area injury attorney
Napa, CA (Napa Wrongful Death Lawyer News)—Napa State Hospital faces increased scrutiny amid an investigation concerning the recent and tragic slaying of a 14-year psychiatric employee. The body of Donna Gross, a veteran worker with the correctional facility, was discovered Saturday evening in a courtyard on the property. While all employees wear a panic button on their belts as a safety precaution, the device does not work outside. Authorities arrested a patient Sunday morning, in connection with Gross’ death. The mentally ill patient, 37-year-old Jess Willard Massey, is charged with robbing and murdering Gross. Massey was declared legally insane by the courts and has been hospitalized since 1993, according to an October 25, 2010 San Francisco Chronicle report.
Reports alleged Massey confronted Gross and they were both walking along a “well-traveled” path on the grounds. Capt. Tracey Stuart of the Napa County Sheriff’s Office contended, “He wanted money from her.” Gross’ body was found in a courtyard at 6:10 p.m. While details regarding her cause of death were not released, fellow hospital employees have long expressed their concerns with the level of safety maintained at Napa State Hospital. “The majority of the staff has been assaulted… We had one situation where an employee was choked out and threatened with rape and another where a nurse’s head was split open… This is a correctional facility and it needs to have the same kind of security as a prison. But it doesn’t,” explained one worker. Another maintained, “You’re constantly living in fear for your life… You have to have eyes in the back of your head and always be looking for an exit.”
Patients, which include “accused and convicted murderers, rapists, and child molesters,” apparently have permission to wander the 138-acre hospital and gather together on the premises. All the patients were deemed either mentally unfit to stand trial or not guilty by reason of insanity. The facility houses around 1,150 patients at a time and according to one employee, “Typically, there are six medical workers taking care of 46 people.” A Department of Justice probe conducted in 2005 also described “widespread and systematic deficiencies” at the hospital. Nonetheless, Napa State spokeswoman Deborah Moore contended, “The hospital’s top priority is the safety of its employees and patients… Recently, the hospital has implemented safety measures such as rounds on grounds, community policing and work groups that address incidences as they arise to further reduce aggressive incidents.” The homicide investigation is underway.
Leading Bay Area injury attorney Mary Alexander, states if you or a loved one has been injured or killed as a result of the negligence of another party, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and damages. With over 25 years of experience litigating the multifaceted personal injury and wrongful death claims of negligence victims and their families, contacting seasoned Napa wrongful death lawyer Mary Alexander may help you obtain the compensation you deserve.
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