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Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Self-declared 'king' who tried to burn Masonic lodge not guilty by reason of insanity

Cincinnati Lodge No. 3 in Morristown, New Jersey narrowly escaped being burned to the ground last year, thanks to the bravery of RW Brother Drew Jardine.

From NJ.com by Ben Horowitz: 
A Morris Township (New Jersey) man who was accused of trying to set the Morristown Masonic Lodge on fire — and who later told a judge he was a king — was found not guilty Tuesday by reason of insanity.John Mowbray, 53, had faced charges including aggravated attempted arson and burglary in connection with two break-ins at the lodge on Feb. 7 and 8, 2013.During a bail hearing a few days later, Mowbray said he was a king and maintained "this form of judicial system does not apply to me."Mowbray was initially declared incompetent to stand trial. But after a year of treatment at the Ann Klein Forensic Center, a state psychiatric hospital in West Trenton, a therapist said he was mentally competent.Superior Court Judge Robert Gilson in Morristown announced the verdict Tuesday following a short trial in which both sides agreed on the facts of the case and on Mowbray's mental state -- he was not sane at the time of the incident.Gilson, reading from reports by psychiatrists and police, for the first time gave an account of why Mowbray targeted the Masons.Mowbray, who damaged a grandfather clock at the lodge on Feb. 7 and then returned with gasoline containers to burn it down on Feb. 8, believed the Masons had stolen the clock from his grandfather and had also killed his grandfather, Gilson said.Mowbray, a schizophrenic, was "acutely psychotic" and believed the Masons and the Knights of Columbus were involved in a conspiracy to torture him, the judge said.During the second break-in, lodge member Andrew Jardine contacted police to report a "burglary in progress" and also "engaged in a fight" with Mowbray, Gilson said.The gas containers were found on the porch and Jardine told police that Mowbray said he "intended to burn the building down," Gilson said.Gilson cited a psychiatrist's report that said Mowbray has "regained competence" during treatment. However, he said, if Mowbray fails to take his medications, he will again be a "danger to himself and to others."Mowbray will return to Ann Klein pending another evaluation and a court hearing on his placement in 30 days.His attorney, John Whipple, said his family is hoping he may be placed at Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital in Parsippany, which would be "closer to home."Mowbray was previously found not guilty by reason of insanity in a 2008 Warren County case, according to court officials. He had been accused of leading police on a motor vehicle chase and striking two officers with his car, according to a Morris County assistant prosecutor.

1 comment:

  1. I guess His Honor doesn't realize he could find a defendant guilty by reason of insanity also.



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