The Hampstead teen-ager who stabbed his mother last summer after coming home from a late-night work shift was convicted yesterday of first-degree murder, but a Carroll judge ruled he was insane at the time.
In an hourlong hearing before Circuit Judge Luke K. Burns Jr., Timothy Kevin Fick, 18, pleaded not guilty to counts of first- and second-degree murder but agreed to allow prosecutors to read into the record a statement of facts with sufficient evidence to find him guilty.
Fick, who was to begin his senior year at North Carroll High School the day after the slaying, was ordered by Judge Burns to undergo psychiatric treatment at Clifton T. Perkins Hospital Center in Jessup. He has been confined there since shortly after his arrest. He will be released from custody when state psychiatrists deem he no longer is a danger to himself or to society.
While in police custody in August, Fick was sent to the state mental hospital because he was "hysterical, screaming, putting his head in the toilet and exhibiting other bizarre behavior," according to court records.
"He's a terribly sick young man," said Carroll Public Defender Barbara M. Kreinar, who argued unsuccessfully to have her client convicted only of second-degree murder. "I'm pleased that he is somewhere he can be treated and that someday he can be cured. This is a terrible tragedy for everybody involved."
Fick was convicted of fatally stabbing Jean Kellogg Fick, 57, at their home about 2:15 a.m. Aug. 26, shortly after he arrived home from his job as a cook at the Hampstead Pizza Hut.
Mrs. Fick had gone to a church meeting and was in bed when her son called for a ride home from work, according to the statement read in court by Assistant State's Attorney Theresa M. Adams. Mrs. Fick did not pick him up from work. Timothy Fick arrived home at about 1:30 a.m., and apparently approached his mother screaming. Ms. Adams said that shortly afterward, Timothy Fick's sister would have testified, Mrs. Fick was heard to yell, "No, don't, Timmy. What are you doing?"
Mrs. Fick's body was found by police in a pool of blood. The body had 19 stab wounds, Ms. Adams said. Timothy Fick had fled from the house and had run into a field, but state police captured him within minutes.
After his arrest and an emergency psychiatric evaluation at Carroll County General Hospital, he was placed in a cell at the state police barracks in Westminster. He did not stop talking, Ms. Adams said. In part of his ramblings -- which were recorded -- he declared, "I killed my mom . . . Oh, my God, I killed my mom."
"I'm very satisfied that we were able to obtain a first-degree conviction," Ms. Adams said. "It was important to establish that what he did that night was premeditated murder."
Both Ms. Adams and Ms. Kreinar knew, going into yesterday's hearing, that Timothy Fick could not be sentenced to prison, regardless of his conviction, because state psychiatric experts in January declared that he was not criminally responsible for his behavior. When a defendant enters a plea that he was not criminally responsible -- an insanity plea -- his experts are often the ones to make the declaration of insanity. When the prosecutor's experts and the defendant's experts are at odds, the issue usually is decided by a judge or jury. Timothy Fick's insanity was not disputed, so all that remained to be decided in his case was whether he was guilty of the slaying.