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Polmatier v. Russ

Connecticut Supreme Court
537 A.2d 468 (1988)


Facts

Russ (defendant) and his two-month-old daughter were visiting Arthur Polmatier, Russ’s father-in-law. Early in the evening, Robert, son of Arthur and his wife Dorothy (plaintiff), witnessed Russ beating Arthur on the head with a beer bottle in the family’s living room. Shortly thereafter, Russ went into Arthur’s bedroom and retrieved a box of ammunition from a dresser drawer, as well as a rifle. Russ then returned to the living room and shot Arthur two times, killing him. Approximately five hours later, Russ was found naked and crying on a tree stump with his daughter in his arms about a half-mile from Arthur’s home. Russ was charged with murder. At his criminal trial, a psychiatrist testified that at the time of the killing, Russ was suffering from a severe case of paranoid schizophrenia involving delusions of persecution, grandeur, influence, and auditory hallucinations. The jury in the criminal trial found Russ not guilty by reason of insanity. Dorothy Polmatier filed a wrongful death action against Russ for killing Arthur. At the civil trial, the psychiatrist provided the same testimony. The trial court held for Dorothy. Russ appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Glass, J.)

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