Court: Bresland not in need of hospitalization

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BRATTLEBORO — A Bellows Falls area homeless man who was found not competent to stand trial for repeated charges of trespassing and setting a friend's house on fire does not need to be hospitalized, according to an agreement reached Thursday between his attorney, his guardian ad litem and the Windham County state's attorney's office.

Mark E. Bresland, 54, had been charged with arson, multiple counts of unlawful trespass, unlawful mischief as well as violating conditions of release, all in the Westminster-Bellows Falls area. But a psychiatric evaluation by Dr. Robert Linder of Burlington in November determined he was not competent to stand trial.

"Defendant is a person in need of treatment and a patient in need of further treatment," according to the order of non-hospitalization. "Treatment alternatives have been considered, and hospitalization is not necessary at the present time either to provide the defendant with treatment adequate and appropriate to his condition or protect public safety," the agreement stated.

Bresland, who was not in court in December for the competency hearing, was in court on Thursday, appearing with Mimi Brill, the Windham County public defender who is representing him, as well as his guardian ad litem, David Blistein.

Bresland created multiple problems this past summer and fall in Bellows Falls, repeatedly panhandling in Bellows Falls Square, as well as allegedly going into strangers' homes and urinating and defecating on himself. Bellows Falls Police had refused to even put him in a cruiser, saying he represented a "bio-hazard."

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Windham Superior Court Judge John Treadwell accepted the agreement, which calls for Bresland to seek treatment from Pathways Vermont, and at the same time was committed to the "care and custody" of the commissioner of mental health, for a period not longer than 90 days. Bresland was ordered to take medications "in form and dosage as prescribed by his treating physicians and/or mental health care provider. ... If requested, defendant shall take his medications in front of his treatment providers," the order stated.

Bresland was ordered to reside in housing provided by Pathways, and was also ordered to "keep all appointments as set with, or by, his doctor, case manager, therapist and/or psychiatrist at Pathways or such other agency."

In addition, Bresland was ordered not to engage in behavior that poses a threat or danger to himself or others, and not to engage in criminal conduct. Bresland agreed to stay off the properties where he had allegedly trespassed earlier this fall: 12 Church Place, Best Dressed Laundromat, all the Stewart Property Management properties, as well as 8 Hadley Street. All of the properties are in Bellows Falls.

In addition, he was ordered not to harass or contact several people listed in the order. If Bresland fails to abide by any conditions of this order, Pathways or his other treatment providers shall notify the commissioner of mental health and "they shall work to take all appropriate and necessary steps to ensure compliance with the order."

Contact Susan Smallheer at ssmallheer@reformer or 802 254-2311, ext. 154.


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