Man charged with killing another patient at psychiatric hospital

For the second time in just over a year, a patient at the maximum-security Clifton T. Perkins state psychiatric hospital has been charged with killing another patient, state police said Friday night.

David Rico-Noyola, a 22-year-old patient at the Howard County facility was pronounced dead by an emergency room doctor, and his 24-year-old roommate Vitaly Davydov has been charged in the killing.

The killing is believed to be only the second in the 50-year history of Perkins. A female patient was strangled to death by a male patient on a medium security wing of the hospital in September 2010. That killing prompted a critical review that found workers were inattentive, slept on the job and lied about checking on patients.

Shortly before 2:30 p.m., Davydov came out of the room he and Rico-Noyola shared and asked a security guard for help, police said. Hospital staff then found Rico-Noyola on the floor, suffering from trauma to his body and head. He was bleeding, police said.

A nurse had checked their room 30 minutes prior to the attack and nothing was out of the ordinary, police said.

Police were still investigating the room at 10 p.m., after obtaining a search warrant, said state police spokesman Greg Shipley. Rico-Noyola's body is undergoing an autopsy by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, he said.

In August, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene deemed Rico-Noyola incompetent to stand trial for the death of his mother, in 2008. Court records show another competency hearing was scheduled for next month.

In 2007, Davydov was found not criminally responsible for the fatal beating a year earlier fatal beating of Rockville psychiatrist Wayne S. Fenton, a renowned specialist in the treatment of schizophrenia.

A judge concluded that severe mental illness prevented Davydov from realizing that he was committing a crime and ordered him committed to Perkins until he was determined to no longer be dangerous, the Washington Post reported.

In last year's homicide, El Soundani El-Wahhabi, 51, is charged with murder in the Sept. 25, 2010 death of Susan Sachs, who was found dead in her bed at the hospital. There were two other deaths since 2008, which critics said occurred due to lax oversight.

In response to the review of that incident, officials said in February that they had stepped up staffing of the medium-security ward where Sachs was killed, and increased hospital oversight of night-shift nurses and security staff.

Advocates for psychiatric patients were critical, however, saying there had been no changes of policy or procedures. Around the same time the review was released, the hospital announced that the hospital's chief executive was retiring.