Family demands Tarloff return to Bellevue

Eyewitness News Exclusive
March 31, 2008 8:47:11 PM PDT
The family of David Tarloff, accused of hacking to death a Manhattan therapist, is demanding that he be moved from Riker's Island back to Bellevue Hospital.They say he's not receiving the proper treatment for his mental illness and is in danger from other inmates.

The Investigators' Sarah Wallace has an exclusive report.

Eyewitness News has obtained a sworn statement by David Tarloff's father. By his account, his son is becoming increasingly psychotic and delusional in jail. Tarloff's attorney is now asking a judge to take immediate action so the alleged killer can get stabilized instead of sliding into a deeper state of untreated mental illness.

"It's clear that he has problems, and if there's ever been a case where somebody should be kept at a hospital to be evaluated throughout the course of the case, this is the case," Tarloff's attorney, Bryan Konoski said.

And yet, for the moment, accused meat cleaver killer David Tarloff is behind bars at Riker's Island, moved there from Bellevue two weeks ago. His family claims the 39-year-old's mental state is dangerously deteriorating. In an affidavit by Tarloff's father, Leonard, who describes a phone conversation with his son, who said he wasn't taking anti-psychotic medication in jail.

"When he was talking with him on the phone, David was really breaking down," Konoski said. "He was crying and he said, 'Dad, I don't understand why they're doing this to me. I'm the messiah. And then he also described an incident seeing flakes falling from the sky, which seemed to indicate some sort of approval or some sort of sign from God."

Tarloff is accused of butchering Manhattan therapist Kathryn Faughey at her Upper East Side office in February. He was hospitalized at Bellevue after an initial court appearance, where he rambled incoherently.

But then, two psychiatrists ruled he is competent to stand trial. Then he was transferred. His attorney says the mentally ill Tarloff has been assaulted, punched by an inmate and taunted.

"Some of the other inmates were yelling at him, 'There's the cleaver man, that's the cleaver man," Konoski said. "He need more help and supervision if we're ever going to get to trial in this case."

Konoski, in his motion, is demanding that Tarloff be returned to Bellevue for treatment. He is still gathering medical documents, but says the evidence so far shows Tarloff has been treated for mental illness in at least 20 different hospitals since 1991.

"If he continues to degenerate and decompensate while he's at Riker's Island, this case could drag on for a long time if he's not fit to proceed," Konoski said.

The DA's office said it hasn't had a chance to review the motion, but will likely respond at a court hearing Tuesday, when Tarloff will be arraigned on the murder indictment.

Konoski said that he had planned to announce then whether or not to pursue a psychiatric defense.

Now, however, he says he now needs more time to make that decision, as the move to Riker's delayed an independent psychiatric evaluation. A correction spokesman says that Tarloff has been placed in protective custody.