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‘Something inside me just snapped’: Report provides context for insanity decision in Glen Burnie murder of software engineer

James Verombeck just wanted some privacy.

In his mind, this basic right was being infringed upon by the young tenant in the apartment above. He thought 22-year-old Tyrique Hudson was spying on him to divulge his secrets to the rest of the world.

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None of it was based in reality but it had consumed his life, and the 54-year-old couldn’t help but tell his story to anyone in authority who would listen.

He explained his belief to a perplexed District Court judge in Glen Burnie when Hudson filed for court protection after Verombeck confronted him in their stairwell, and to police officers and a court commissioner with hopes of filing criminal charges against the software engineer for illegally recording him. Investigators never found any evidence of spying or recording.

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He repeated his account, unsolicited, to Anne Arundel County police after blasting a shotgun into Hudson’s chest and barricading himself in his apartment April 15, 2019, and months later at Clifton T Perkins Hospital Center during five hours of interviews with a Maryland Department of Health forensic psychiatrist, who a judge tasked with determining if Verombeck was insane when he committed murder.

Dr. Adam Brown’s report, which The Capital obtained through a Maryland Public Information Request, explains how a tragic sequence in Verombeck’s life led to mental health conditions that worsened with time, all the way up until he, in a delusional state of mind, lost control and killed Hudson, a Black man whose family and friends are mourning what he might have given to the world.

A screenshot of a 115-page sanity report prepared by a forensic psychiatrist with the Maryland Department of Health, which was the foundation for an Anne Arundel County judge finding 54-year-old James Verombeck not criminally responsible by reason of insanity. Verombeck murdered 22-year-old Tyrique Hudson in the stairwell of their Glen Burnie apartment building.
A screenshot of a 115-page sanity report prepared by a forensic psychiatrist with the Maryland Department of Health, which was the foundation for an Anne Arundel County judge finding 54-year-old James Verombeck not criminally responsible by reason of insanity. Verombeck murdered 22-year-old Tyrique Hudson in the stairwell of their Glen Burnie apartment building. (Alex Mann / Capital Gazette / Capital Gazette)

In Maryland, a defendant who pleads insanity has to prove that they, because of a mental disease or disorder, could not understand their crimes were wrong or could not stop themselves. It was Brown’s task to determine whether Verombeck fit either part of the standard.

Brown wrote that Verombeck knew what he did was wrong. After shooting Hudson, he piled furniture in front of his apartment door and hid. The standoff ended 10 hours later when heavily armed police burst through a wall. Still, Verombeck resisted. In an interview room, he confessed. He asked “... are they calling it a premeditated, first-degree?” and whether he could get the death penalty and said: “I’m gonna go to hell.”

After Verombeck pleaded guilty to first-degree murder Tuesday, the 115-page document served as the foundation for Circuit Judge Michael Wachs to find him not criminally responsible by reason of insanity. Prosecutors did not contest Verombeck’s insanity claims. Wachs had to commit him indefinitely to the custody of the health department, rather than sentence him to prison.

"I’m gonna go to hell.”


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After reviewing evidence, medical records, calling collateral sources and interviewing Verombeck, Brown sought to answer the question nobody could: Was an Anne Arundel County public schools groundskeeper mentally disturbed when he gunned down his neighbor? The answer would require a study of Verombeck’s life.

It began early.

A native of Niagara Falls, New York, Verombeck grew up in a Christian family and a middle-class neighborhood. By his own estimation, his early childhood was normal.

Things changed when his mother died by suicide. Verombeck was 12, and he developed deep depression.

Verombeck didn’t get along great with his father, and that summer his dad sent him to live with an adult relative.

Brown discovered during his evaluation that the relative sexually abused Verombeck. He never coped with this experience, Brown detailed, and it contributed to the delusions that led him to snap in April 2019.

By 14, Verombeck left home and lived on the streets for two years. Asked by the doctor how he managed at such a young age, Verombeck said “homeless people take care of each other.” He’d saved up enough for an apartment by 16 and, after flipping over the principal’s desk, was expelled from a New York high school at 17.

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Then, he moved in with a family member in Calvert County and graduated. He met a girl. They got engaged. He enlisted in the Navy and scored well on his entrance exam, after which he was placed in a specialized school to study nuclear propulsion. Things were looking up.

Four months later, tragedy struck again.

Verombeck’s fiancee died in a car crash and, severely depressed, he was admitted for Navy psychiatric care. Faced with the choice to leave the special unit or be medically discharged, he chose the latter. He moved back in with his late fiancee’s parents in Dunkirk and started working in construction and maintenance.

He dated a few women, got into a brief and tumultuous marriage, which his ex-wife said left her and her children fearful. It ended with divorce in 2010 and he went back to a previous girlfriend briefly. But since 2013, Brown wrote, Verombeck hadn’t had any relationships. He lived on his own and kept to himself.

And over the years, a white man with long hair and a scraggly beard kept popping up in emergency rooms.

James Allan Verombeck, 54, of the 100 block of Virginia Lane, has been convicted of murder in the death of Tyrique Hudson. He was not criminally responsible and will be held at a state psychiatric hospital.
James Allan Verombeck, 54, of the 100 block of Virginia Lane, has been convicted of murder in the death of Tyrique Hudson. He was not criminally responsible and will be held at a state psychiatric hospital. (BSMG)

Verombeck showed up to a Calvert County clinic with a shotgun twice in the 1990s, saying he was suicidal. Employees evacuated and state troopers convinced him to surrender his sawed-off shotgun. While he held the barrel under his chin, police said he mentioned his mother’s suicide. After being criminally charged, he was committed to Perkins for treatment.

Over two decades he was diagnosed with a range of mental disorders and prescribed dozens of medications.

Brown’s report showed a trend. Verombeck was unhappy with his care. He’d show up for emergency treatment and doctors would evaluate him. They’d refer him to follow-up care but he rarely followed through. Sometimes he was resistant to medications; other times he adhered to his doctor’s advice.

“In the past, the patient has not stayed in psychiatric treatment... His refusal to divest himself of firearms is worrisome,” a Perkins doctor wrote in 1996, per Brown’s report.

Verombeck denied delusions and hallucinations repeatedly.

He kept a job, paid rent and visited his late fiancee’s parents about once a month. But Verombeck spent most of his free time alone, cooped up in a cluttered apartment at 179 Virginia Lane in Glen Burnie.

There, he harbored some unrealistic beliefs, the report shows. Doctors who treated him over the years described him at times as paranoid and skeptical of authority but never did their notes delve into his delusional relationship with religion and technology.

Verombeck believed Satan used “electronic devices to ‘get people for his army’ in preparation for the apocalypse," Brown wrote. Even as new technology became popular, he refused to get a smartphone or sign up for the internet or cable. At his apartment, he flipped between 13 channels accessible via an antenna. He rented CDs and DVDs from the library for music and movies.

Notebooks with explicit entries that detectives discovered in his pickup truck parked at the Colonial Square apartments shed more light on the abuse Verombeck suffered as a young man and its influence on his own sexuality.

“Verombeck had difficulty accepting and integrating this part of his identity into his sense of self. Thus, he displaced what he considered to be psychologically unacceptable sexual urges and behaviors onto an aspect of his personality he referred to as ‘Jill,'" Brown wrote, adding that Verombeck was uncomfortable talking about it unless he was referred to as “Jill.”

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He was ashamed of it all and kept it secret his whole life.

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That made unbearable his unfounded belief that Hudson was spying on him, Brown wrote. Verombeck believed Hudson had lowered a camera into his apartment through a utility closet and was videotaping him as he watched pornographic movies. He thought Hudson was uploading footage to the internet — a resource he neither trusted nor had access to — for the world to see.

The doctor considered malingering, or faking symptoms, and pointed to two pieces of evidence that stood out. One, Verombeck’s delusional story didn’t change before or after the killing, and beforehand, it served him no benefit. Secondly, he wrote Verombeck continued to present for about a month certain mental health symptoms while at the county jail, until he accepted medications prescribed by the staff. Even then, his delusions continued.

“The overwhelming strength of his delusional belief undermined his ability to think rationally about any related topic.”


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Verombeck couldn’t stop himself, Brown wrote. He noted how Verombeck tried to stop the perceived spying by going to the court commissioner and police stations. After the hearing for Hudson’s protective order, which was denied, things got worse. He started having delusions that Hudson was taunting him from above. Verombeck heard a voice.

He tested the theory about his neighbor spying on him by setting alarms on his phone and pausing his videos intermittently, monitoring how Hudson’s moved about his own apartment above. He was convinced that when he paused the videos, which Verombeck always played without sound, Hudson walked away. He had to be watching through a camera, Verombeck thought, according to the report.

“The overwhelming strength of his delusional belief undermined his ability to think rationally about any related topics,” Brown wrote. “He believed his life would be ruined because his neighbor had distributed videos of him in sexually compromising situations, of which no one else in his life had ever been aware.”

Verombeck told Brown he didn’t plan to kill Hudson. He didn’t even remember doing it, the report said. Without consulting a doctor, he stopped taking a medication that helped with impulsive behavior two weeks before the fatal shooting and tried to ween himself off a painkiller. Brown wrote that Verombeck told him he hadn’t eaten in two days and didn’t sleep the night before.

Brown diagnosed Verombeck with Schizoaffective Disorder, Bipolar Type, a condition that sometimes yields a period of manic behavior along with delusions or hallucinations, among other identifiers. He wrote Verombeck told him he couldn’t take the perceived spying or harassment anymore.

“Something inside of me just snapped.”

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