Evaluation ordered for meat cleaver suspect

David Tarloff was arraigned Sunday
February 18, 2008 5:05:45 PM PST
The brother of a man accused of hacking a therapist to death said his family had tried to get the 39-year-old the help that he needed."My father and I and our mother all tried our best to keep him in the facilities that he was hospitalized in over the many, many years of his illness, and they kept releasing him," said the brother, Robert Tarloff, standing outside his father's Staten Island home Sunday.

He would not elaborate on his brother's mental illness.

Acting Supreme Court Justice Ruth Pickholz ordered a psychiatric evaluation for David Tarloff at his arraignment Sunday. During the hearing, he was fidgety and incoherent, and claimed that his Legal Aid lawyer, Reginald Sharpe, was "not an attorney."

"I've seen his driver's license," Tarloff said. "I don't know him."

Tarloff is due back in court on Feb. 23. He was charged with second-degree murder, second-degree attempted murder and first-degree assault.

Tarloff was arrested Saturday after investigators matched his palm prints with those at the bloody Manhattan office where therapist Kathryn Faughey was killed Tuesday evening. Police said he told investigators he had set out to rob a psychiatrist he said had institutionalized him 17 years ago but ended up in Faughey's office.

Tarloff made incriminating statements during a 35-minute interrogation after he was taken into custody at 7:20 a.m. at his apartment, police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said. But the police commissioner declined to say Tarloff had confessed.

Police said it remained unclear why Tarloff would have attacked Faughey, who was slashed 15 times. A psychiatrist who worked nearby, Dr. Kent Shinbach, came to Faughey's aid and was badly injured.

During questioning, Tarloff said he went to the office because Shinbach had him institutionalized in 1991. Tarloff said he planned to rob the psychiatrist and then leave the country with his mother, who is in a nursing home but until recently had lived with him, police said.

Kelly couldn't confirm whether Tarloff was ever Shinbach's patient, or whether he'd met Faughey.

Tarloff had been arrested earlier this month on charges of punching a security guard in the face after being asked to leave St. John's Episcopal Hospital in Queens, Kelly said. It wasn't clear why Tarloff had been at the hospital.

Police said they matched his prints from the Feb. 1 arrest with three found on a suitcase - filled with adult diapers and women's clothing - left near the basement door where the killer escaped. Also found was a smaller bag with rope, duct tape and knives not used in the attack, police said.

A next-door neighbor at Tarloff's building in Queens said Tarloff had been unemployed but did not cause any trouble.

"We were all shocked," said the neighbor, Stella Miscow. "We never expected that. He was quiet, you know what I mean?"