It isn’t common that a man arrested on a probation violation for smoking pot would be jailed for four months and counting, and that hearing after hearing would be held, with still no resolution–as was the case again late this afternoon regarding Richard Dunn.
But Dunn isn’t your ordinary probation violator. Dunn stabbed his elderly father to death at the family’s Clarendon Court home in 2006, when he was hallucinating, hearing voices, hearing the sounds of Fleetwood Mac and Stevie Nicks in his head.
Dunn was found not guilty by reason of insanity, committed to a state hospital for several years’ treatment, then gradually granted degrees of freedom in small increment. He’d lived in a halfway house for a while, then was allowed to live with a roommate in Daytona Beach, as long as he abided by strict medical and counseling protocols. He violated his probation once in 2013, but his progress by 2020 had gone so far that he was petitioning the court to regain his full freedom, and the court was edging toward granting it. (See: “Richard Dunn, Found Insane in Father’s Murder in 2006, Wants Unconditional Freedom Restored.”)
Then Dunn last September violated his probation again. And started smoking pot, and showing up at his counselors’ office with inexplicable burns, and showing up at one provider’s door at 2 a.m. (a woman), and scrawling mysterious messages on his door–and hearing Fleetwood Mac and Stevie Nicks again, and thinking nothing of it. (See: “Richard Dunn, Who Killed His Father in 2006, Back in Jail as ‘Bizarre’ Behavior Raises Concerns of More Violence.”)
“There are a lot of factors actually that caused me to be concerned about his violence,” Dr. Roger Davis, a psychologist hired by the court to evaluate Dunn last September, said. “One factor is that he told me he was hearing voices involving Stevie Nicks and Fleetwood Mac at the time that he killed his father. And he said that he had been hearing these same voices approximately nine days before I met with him.” Davis met with Dunn on Sept. 30 at the Flagler County jail. “He doesn’t have any insight that not only are these not real, he believes they’re real, he doesn’t realize their hallucinations.”
Dunn is 60. He was responsible for caring for his father–Dr. Jack Dunn, the first physician to have a family practice in nascent Palm Coast in the 1970s. In Early January 2006, he stabbed him in a gruesome display of violence and odd ritualistic-seeming defilement. A family member, fearful of the risk of recurring violence, has insisted that Dunn should not regain his freedom. Dun had been abiding by the conditions of his release by taking his medication as prescribed and attending meetings as required–until late last summer, when dosage changed, as did his behavior.
He was not acting so violently or threatening self-harm to the point that he could be committed through a Baker Act. But by smoking pot, he had violated his probation. Authorities took no chance when he violated probation. The court took no chance. He was jailed at the Flagler County jail on Sept. 23, where he has remained since. The prosecution, the defense–first Assistant Public Defender Regina Nunnally, now John Hager–and the court have been trying to decide how to dispose of his case: whether to send him back to Daytona Beach under his previous conditions of probation, or whether to send him back to the state hospital.
Davis today left no doubt. “He was psychotic when I went with him and as I said he didn’t have any insight that he was psychotic. And then in the community, of course, it’s going to be more stressful or he’s going to have more things that he has to deal with,” Davis said. “I think he needs to be committed to the state forensic Hospital, where a psychiatrist can look at the medication and determine whether the dose needs to be adjusted, whether it needs to be augmented with another medication, or just change to another medication.”
Hager tried to establish that the only problem with Dunn has been the change in his medication, which itself caused a change in behavior–not the other way around. In other words, his behavior is remediable. Hager questioned Davis about Dunn being violent at any point.
Dr. Roger Davis met for an hour and 24 minutes.
“I have no knowledge of him being violent the last year,” Davis said.
“What about any knowledge about him having suicidal ideations?”
“What about homicidal ideations?”
Davis did recall Dunn’s medication being reduced before he violated his probation.
One of the factors that deeply troubled Dunn’s health care overseers at SMA Healthcare was a burn he sustained on the arm, and never explained. The doctor had no knowledge about the burn’s origin. Hager asked if he had “any reason to believe that he did that to himself.” The doctor’s answer to the question was not clear: “I don’t have any knowledge about that.” Hager did not clarify whether the doctor had no knowledge about the burn, or about the burn’s origin.
But there’s been more issues at the jail. The doctor said that last October, he got an email from SMA letting him know that Dunn was “only 50 percent compliant” with his medication at the jail. He had also reduced his medication at the time when he killed his father: he had done so, he told the doctor, on his own, and because he felt lethargic, because he was in charge of taking care of his father and he wanted to be more alert.
“Another concern that I have with the substance abuse is he thinks that marijuana would be a good medication for him to take now and he doesn’t realize that that could very likely exacerbate the psychotic symptoms,” Davis said. “So that’s another reason that I think that he has a substance abuse issue.”
Davis worked at a state hospital for 10 years. He said patients whose medication is changed can have different effects, and unpredictable effects, requiring staff to “keep close tabs” on patients. Therefore, Dunn would more properly be cared for back at the state hospital.
Jason Lewis, the assistant state attorney, only asked a few questions to underscore the state’s position, which has been for re-institutionalization all along.
Kristopher Bailey, Dunn’s former forensic case manager, also testified, discussing the several problems Dunn posed when he suddenly started missing appointments–something he’d never done before–and behaving strangely, confusing the days of the week, losing his temper with SMA staff.
Dunn, sitting on a bench at the jail, would shake his head from time to time, showing his disagreement with Bailey’s summaries. As Bailey kept describing issues, Dunn bent down, holding his head in his hand.
Circuit Judge Terence Perkins was to decide Dunn’s fate. But the hearing had been scheduled to start at 4 p.m., had started 15 minutes late because of previous hearings running late, and Hager still had at least two witnesses to examine. Perkins’s and other court staff could not be so taxed. The judge ended the hearing and directed the attorneys to schedule another date for its conclusion, leaving Dunn’s fate yet again uncertain, and Dunn himself to further grow a beard he has apparently not cut since his September incarceration.
The next hearing has not been scheduled.