Man denies criminal responsibility in sex assault

A man freed from the Patuxent Institution after serving time for raping an 11-year-old girl in 1973 has pleaded not criminally responsible in the sexual assault of a Columbia woman about a month after his release.

A Howard Circuit Court judge signed orders last week to have Thurman Alexander Moore undergo psychiatric evaluations after his attorneys filed a plea of not criminally responsible on his behalf.


His attorneys, public defenders Carol Hanson and Avery Berdit, say in court papers that Mr. Moore is not responsible for the Aug. 31 incident because he has a mental disorder or is retarded.

They also contend Mr. Moore is incompetent to stand trial because he does not understand the case against him and cannot assist in his defense, court records say.


Senior Assistant State's Attorney Kate O'Donnell also requested evaluation of Mr. Moore. She could not be reached for #F comment.

Judge Raymond Kane Jr. filed an order Oct. 28 asking the Clifton T. Perkins Hospital Center in Jessup to evaluate Mr. Moore. A report is due within 60 days.

Mr. Moore, 47, of the 9400 block of Guilford Road in Guilford, is charged with assault with intent to rape, daytime housebreaking, assault, battery, two counts of perverted sexual practices and three sexual offenses.

If convicted, he could be sentenced to life in prison. His Circuit Court trial is set forJan. 5.

He is accused of forcing his way into the woman's home on Hidden Cove. He allegedly beat the woman, then sexually assaulted her.

His alleged attempt to rape the woman was thwarted by three people who saw him go after the woman and heard screams from her home. They restrained Mr. Moore until police arrived, according to police.

Ms. Hanson said she has subpoenaed Mr. Moore's mental and medical records from Patuxent Institution and the state Division of Corrections to help prepare for the case.

Mr. Moore was released from the Patuxent Institution in July under the state's mandatory release guidelines after serving 19 years of a 25-year prison term for the rape and kidnapping of an 11-year-old girl.


The Jessup facility opened in 1955 as a state prison designed to treat criminals with "psychopathic personalities," those aware of the consequences of their acts but unable to control their impulses.

In December 1991, the Division of Corrections began sending inmates with acute mental disorders to Patuxent instead of keeping them in regular prisons, each with its own doctors, to save money.

Mr. Moore was sent to the Division of Corrections' Mental Health Unit at Patuxent in July 1992 because of a mental illness.

In most cases, Patuxent has no authority over the parole, probation or mandatory releases of Mental Health Unit inmates. Prisoners like Mr. Moore are at Patuxent for treatment, but they are part of the Division of Corrections.

Patuxent doctors could have petitioned for Mr. Moore's commitment to the institution had they recognized any mental or sexual disorders that posed a threat to society or to Mr. Moore. Joseph Henneberry, director of Patuxent, said recently that Mr. Moore showed no sign of a disorder.