Dubois man accused of 2020 eye gouging released

(Riverton, WY) – 54-year-old Patrick Lee Rose, of Dubois, has been released from the Wyoming State Hospital (WSH) into the care and custody of his wife after being found “not fit to proceed” in the court process and “will not have any probability of becoming fit to proceed,” according to an order for release filed on June 25th. He will remain in the care of his wife for “as long as this action is going.”

Rose initially faced an aggravated assault and battery charge after he attacked a patient, Elaine Tillman, who was in a neighboring room at SageWest Healthcare in Lander on Thanksgiving day last year. In the attack, he gouged one of her eyes out and damaged the other.

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Tillman was taken to a Utah hospital for treatment, but later died on December 9th, where the autopsy eventually listed the cause of death as “Homicide.”

Circuit Court Judge Robert Denhardt ordered a mental fitness evaluation for Rose during his December 14th preliminary hearing, to determine whether or not he was fit to proceed in the court process, or if could be “restored to competency.”

The court received the report on Rose’s competency to proceed from the WSH on June 18th, and a hearing was held on the same date.

The report stated that “the defendant cannot be restored to competency, not due to a treatable mental condition, but rather due to a traumatic brain injury suffered by the defendant several years ago.”

A WSH psychiatrist in attendance at the hearing also stated they were of the opinion that Rose, “is not subject to the provisions of Title 25,” and the bond was amended to a Personal Recognizance Bond, according to court documents filed by the Honorable Judge Robert Denhardt.

Rose was ultimately deemed, “Not fit to proceed, and will not have any probability of becoming fit to proceed,” and released into the custody of his wife, where he shall remain in her care, “as long as this action is going.”

Elaine Tillman’s daughters, June Louise Tillman and Cathy Ann Lucas, filed a lawsuit back in July against SageWest Health Care on behalf of their mother, alleging SageWest was negligent in its supervision/monitoring of psychiatric patients, and that Rose was “insufficiently restrained.”

The complaint also alleged that SageWest, “breached its duties of care,” and that the overall treatment provided to Mrs. Tillman was insufficient.

SageWest denied the allegations, in a document filed on August 24th.

In their response, SageWest stated that “it was not understaffed in its Emergency Department, and the assailant was reasonably monitored and supervised.”

“SageWest is not a jail and does not handcuff or leg shackle patients,” the statement continued.

The response further asserted that “The patient who later assaulted Mrs. Tillman made no violent threats against Mrs. Tillman, and had not previously acted in an aggressive or violent manner toward anyone – either male or female staff, visitors, or other patients – during his approximate 32-hour stay at SageWest-Lander.”

“The patient who assaulted Mrs. Tillman had no criminal history, and no known prior psychiatric hospitalization. The actions of the patient who assaulted Mrs. Tillman were sudden, unexpected, and unforeseeable.”

While SageWest agreed that “Mrs. Tillman’s death was caused by the sudden, unexpected and unforeseeable actions of the one who assaulted her,” they claimed “Emergency Department physicians, nurses and staff complied with their applicable duty of care to Mrs. Tillman.”

SageWest’s affirmative defense then goes on to state, “The wrongful conduct of the man who assaulted Mrs. Tillman is not attributable to SageWest, and SageWest is not legally liable for the assailant’s tortious misconduct.”

“The tortious conduct of other persons or entities not associated with SageWest is not attributable to SageWest, and SageWest is not legally liable for those persons’ or entities’ negligence.”

Further proceedings have yet to continue, but on August 26th, there was an “order of recusal,” in regards to the judge deliberating over the case.

The order states, “It is therefore ordered that the above case is hereby reassigned from the Honorable Scott W. Skavdahl, Chief United States District Judge to the Honorable Nancy D. Freudenthal, United States District Judge as a conflict now exists with the previous presiding judge.”

County 10 will provide more updates on the case as they become available, which can be found here.

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