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Turman ordered to remain in hospital

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By Christopher Brooke, Reporter

HILLSVILLE — A Dugspur woman found not guilty by reason of insanity in the 2006 beating death of her mother will remain in a state hospital at the order of a Carroll County judge.

Rene Loving Turman was charged after her mother, Susan Sprinkle Clark, 79, was found dead in a trailer on Double Cabin Road by Carroll deputies.

Turman had called authorities herself to report the incident, saying that she had "bludgeoned" her mother to death.

Asked why by a dispatcher, Turman responded that it was because her mother was "a demon."

The presiding judge at trial, Brett Geisler, had been swayed by two mental evaluations of Turman — one for the defense and one for the prosecution — that found that she "did not understand the nature of her actions" in the incident.

At a commitment hearing, Turman's caregivers had been divided as to her treatment plan.

Central State Hospital staff recommended outpatient treatment at home, but a rigorous one. So rigorous, in fact, the Mount Rogers Community Service Board officials that testified at the hearing felt it was unrealistic.

Turman has to take medication for the rest of her life to treat her bipolar disorder with psychotic features.

Though a model patient at Central State, a Community Service Board representative expressed concerns about Turman's history of not taking her medications.

Worse, they feared she might take an anti-depressant to cope with her symptoms of depression — but that's exactly what people with bipolar disorder are supposed to avoid.

Nor could Mount Rogers provide the level of monitoring recommended by Central State's plan to make sure the Turman household didn't have any weapons or other objects that could cause harm, such as matches.

For these reasons — as well as the fact that Mount Rogers personnel hadn't been able to start counseling sessions for Turman yet — convinced Geisler to place her in the Southwestern Virginia Mental Health Institute in Marion.

Up for court review Dec. 18, Geisler decided not to release Turman from that facility.

He based his decision on the results of an evaluation provided by Dr. James R. Moon and the testimony of Turman herself.

"The court finds the acquittee is mentally ill and in need of hospitalization" based on applicable Virginia law, the court order said.

So the judge ordered Turman be "recommitted" at the facility in Marion.

"The court further orders that the acquittee remains under the jurisdiction of this court and shall not be released from custody and inpatient hospitalization without further order from this court," the order said.