Family and friends of a New Windsor man accused of shooting his wife in the neck in November told a judge Monday that had they recognized Keith Sluder's erratic behavior as warning signs of a mental illness, they would have acted to get him help.
At the conclusion of Monday's hearing, Judge Fred S. Hecker ordered Sluder, 42, of the 3300 block of Hooper Road, continue being held without bail. Sluder is charged with attempted murder and related counts.
Circuit Court Chief Attorney Allan Culver said there were too many unknown factors to risk releasing Sluder.
Hecker said Sluder's behavior was entirely out of character and unprecedented, and that contributed to his decision not to grant bail.
Because Sluder has not been able to explain what happened and says he does not remember the incident or the days around the incident, Hecker said there was no way to predict if he would act out again.
"We decided to wait, and I'll tell you, it was the biggest mistake of my life," she said.
The following morning, Keith Sluder appeared better after spending the night at his mother's house, and his wife came over and they eventually went home that afternoon, Shirley Sluder said.
By 11:30 p.m., deputies from the Carroll County Sheriff's Office had been sent to Sluder's home for a report of shots fired and a person injured, according to charging documents. Deputies found Sluder, who they said was uncooperative, and a handgun on the back porch.
While he was being held at the Carroll County Detention Center, medical staff requested an emergency petition be completed and Sluder was taken to Carroll Hospital, according to psychiatrist Hanita Chhabra. From there he was taken to a state mental health facility.
Chhabra said when she first met with Sluder prior to a competency hearing in December, she found him not aware of basic reality with tangential thoughts. By February, she said, Sluder was closer to a baseline psychiatric status and knew things like the date and the name of the president.
If released, Greenberg assured Hecker that Sluder would stay with his mother — a protective order is in place prohibiting him from contacting his wife and children — and the family would know what to look for if Sluder's mental health deteriorated.
"These people are now put on notice of the signs," he said.
Hecker said he did not doubt the sincerity of Sluder's family, but said he was not confident Sluder would not behave violently without warning again.
No further court dates have been scheduled as of Monday evening, according to electronic court files.