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Dr. Idella Kathleen HAGEN

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 
 
 
Classification: Homicide
Characteristics: Parricide - She was receiving messages from televisions ads, traffic lights and playing cards
Number of victims: 2
Date of murders: August 22, 2000
Date of arrest: 4 days after
Date of birth: November 15, 1945
Victims profile: Her parents, Idella Hagen, 92, and James Hagen, 86
Method of murder: Smothering with a plastic bag and a pillow
Location: Chatham Township, New Jersey, USA
Status: Found not guilty on grounds of insanity and committed to a state mental health institution on February 1, 2002
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Dr. Idella Kathleen Hagen (born November 15, 1945 in Monmouth Beach, New Jersey) is a former medical doctor who gained notoriety for being accused of murder by asphyxia of her parents, Idella Hagen, aged 92, and James Hagen, aged 86, with a plastic bag and a pillow as they slept in their home in Chatham Township, New Jersey, in August 2000.

A month earlier, she had returned to her parents' house from her home in the Virgin Islands because of their age and deteriorating health. Dr. Hagen, a woman of considerable means, had previously cut short a medical career in urology in 1987 to move to the Virgin Islands to operate an inn with her second husband.

A 1973 graduate of the Harvard Medical School, she became the first woman appointed a resident in urology at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. She was appointed chief of urology at the Rutgers Medical School in New Jersey in 1982.

The trial

The defense argued for an insanity plea. A defense psychiatrist, Robert L. Sadoff, stated that soon after Dr. Hagen returned to her home on Fairmount Avenue, Chatham New Jersey. She had chronic depression deepened because of the two failed marriages, the loss of her medical career, her fears about her parents' health, and her own fears that her depression would lead to institutionalization.

Both Dr. Sadoff and Dr. Steven Simring, who testified for the prosecution, said Dr. Hagen's depression deepened significantly in August 2000, to the point where she thought she was receiving messages from televisions ads, traffic lights and playing cards. They both also said she also heard a male voice she took to be her father's commanding her to commit the murders, because once they occurred, she and her parents would go to what Dr. Simring called a childlike, magical sphere where they'd regain their happiness.

Deborah Factor, an assistant Morris County prosecutor, asked the psychiatrists if they considered the patricide-matricide acts of vindictiveness or mercy killings, and they both answered no.

The acquittal and confinement

A New Jersey judge acquitted Dr. Hagen of charges after two psychiatrists testified that the doctor was psychotic at the time.

After the psychiatrists agreed that Dr. Hagen had been depressed for years, was delusional during the murders and was now suicidal, Judge B. Theodore Bozonelis found her not guilty on grounds of insanity and committed her to a state mental health institution.

Judge Bozonelis did not order a specific term of confinement, but said he believed that she required long-term treatment in an institution because she is prone to unpredictable bouts of psychosis and is a danger to herself and society. Under the law, he said, Dr. Hagen is entitled to periodic hearings and reviews about her recovery and continued confinement.

Wikipedia.org

 
 

Former doctor could be sent back to psychiatric hospital

Judge warns Kathleen Hagen to comply with terms of release

By Kate Brex - NewJerseyHills.com

November 6, 2009

CHATHAM TWP. Ė A Superior Court judge had concerns Wednesday, Oct. 28, that Idella Kathleen Hagen, who killed her parents in their township home in 2000, has not been living up to the conditions of her psychiatric release.

Judge Thomas V. Manahan was uneasy with the fact that Hagen, 63, had not seen her psychiatrist in person for some time and was turning away Monmouth County social workers when they pressed her about her medications.

Manahan also said that the Harvard-educated doctor would have to comply with the terms of her release or go back to Trenton State Psychiatric Hospital.

The accomplished physician was ruled to be free of psychosis, no threat to herself or to others in Superior Court in Morristown Wednesday, March 26, 2008.

Hagen was then judged stable enough to live in her $850,000 Monmouth Beach home by Superior Court Judge John Harper, who signed an order of release for Hagen from Trenton Psychiatric Hospital.

The court also ordered at the time that Hagen attend the Jersey Shore Medical Centerís Park Place Adult Partial Day Program for a specified period of time and comply with the medical centerís medication monitoring. She would also have to attend individual and group therapy and further outpatient treatment, under the order.

Hagen remains under Krol status Ė a periodic review by a judge of a patientís psychiatric standing when that person is found not guilty by reason of insanity.

Manahan said he was concerned about Hagenís lack of compliance and ordered that he receive a written report of Hagenís mental status from Dr. Robert Dengrove, Hagenís psychiatrist, within 30 days.

At an April court hearing, Manahan requested the written report, but said the report has not been forthcoming.

Hagen, who was said to be suffering from poor health, was not at the hearing.

Robert Dunn, Hagenís attorney confirmed that she is in poor health, but added that she doesnít seem to pose a risk to herself or others. Dunn told the court that he speaks to his client frequently and she is rational and lucid.

The judge was also concerned about reports from social workers claiming that when visiting Hagenís home they were turned away after asking about Hagenís medications.

In a January 2002 bench trial, Judge B. Theodore Bozonelis ruled that Hagen was not guilty by reason of insanity in the August 2000 suffocation of her elderly parents in their Fairmount Avenue home.

Following the trial Hagen was transferred to the Ann Klein Forensic Center, a psychiatric hospital in Trenton. Bozonelis ordered that she remain at that facility, or at another institution, until the court could determine that she would no longer be a danger to herself or to society. At the time Bozonelis said it was one of the most shocking crimes of his career.

The Crime

Just before 7 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 26, 2000, Hagen phoned township police and told them her parents were dead. She had been with the bodies between four and seven days, authorities believed.

Hagen was arrested and held in the Morris County Jail in lieu of $2.5 million bail, according to published reports. She was charged with two counts of first-degree murder.

At the time of her indictment in May 2001, her attorney, Gerard Hanlon, told the court that Hagen was insane when she suffocated her 86-year-old father, James, and 92- year-old mother, Idella, in their 614 Fairmount Avenue home, where they were found wearing nightclothes and laying in twin beds. Authorities claimed that Hagen drugged her parents with sleeping pills then smothered them in their beds.

In court papers Hagenís clinical psychiatrist Dr. Georgina R. Cid, who diagnosed Hagen with a bipolar disorder with psychotic features and narcissistic personality traits, said, ďI believe that the patient is able to handle the demands of community livingÖShe has received maximum benefit from the hospital. She has not displayed any psychotic symptoms and has not been depressed over the course of the last few years of her hospitalization.Ē

Mandatory Medication

A cocktail of drugs, which Hagen must comply with, include lithium to treat her bipolar disorder, Effexor for depression, Inderal for hypertension and tremors and other drugs to manage osteoporosis, chronic back pain and anxiety.

Cid also noted at the time that Hagen has not had any recent behavioral problems.

Hagen is aware that neighbors surrounding her Monmouth Beach home, which she called, ďMy perfect home,Ē need safety and agreed that monitoring her medication is necessary, Cid said.

Hagen graduated from Harvard Medical School in 1973. She interned at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and became the first female urology resident in 1975. She then moved on to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York as a fellow. In 1982, Hagen was made chief urologist at Rutgersí main teaching hospital, Middlesex General in New Brunswick.

State Bill

Hagenís case spawned a state bill that would make it mandatory to notify police when killers are released from psychiatric hospitals.

The bill, which was unanimously approved by the state Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee on Monday, May 18, 2008, was sponsored by state Sen. Sean Kean, R-Monmouth.

Kean said the bill did not seek an equivalent to Meganís Law, which requires persons convicted of sex crimes against children to notify local law enforcement of any change of address or employment after release from custody by either prison or a psychiatric facility.

The Kean bill provides information to the police that would allow law enforcement to monitor these people with discretion and compassion.

 
 

Doctor Who Killed Parents Is Found Insane, Not Guilty

By Robert Hanley - The New York Times

February 01, 2002

A New Jersey judge today acquitted a doctor of charges that she smothered her elderly parents 17 months ago, after two psychiatrists testified that the doctor was psychotic at the time.

The psychiatrists, representing the defense and the prosecution, said that the doctor, I. Kathleen Hagen, had been responding to imaginary voices that told her the deaths would transport the family to a ''sphere'' of happiness and health.

After the psychiatrists agreed that Dr. Hagen had been depressed for years, was delusional during the murders and is now suicidal, Judge B. Theodore Bozonelis found her not guilty on grounds of insanity and committed her to a state mental health institution.

Judge Bozonelis did not order a specific term of confinement. But he said he believed that she required long-term treatment in an institution because she is prone to unpredictable bouts of psychosis and is a danger to herself and society. Under the law, he said, Dr. Hagen is entitled to periodic hearings and reviews about her recovery and continued confinement. He set the first one for May 2.

Dr. Hagen, 56, sat attentively in an orange jail jumpsuit during a daylong nonjury trial before Judge Bozonelis, showing little emotion as he ordered her institutionalized. But moments later she smiled weakly as a courtroom matron applied handcuffs to her wrists and began escorting her from the courtroom.

Afterward, a friend of Dr. Hagen's for the last 20 years, Charlotte Carosh, of Rumson, N.J., said Dr. Hagen had told her during phone calls from her jail cellblock that she hoped her depression could be stabilized enough during confinement that she could be treated as an outpatient. ''She has hopes of having a normal life if she gets the right help,'' Ms. Carosh said.

Dr. Hagen was accused of smothering her parents -- Idella, 92, and James, 86 -- with a plastic bag and pillow as they slept in their home in Chatham Township in August 2000. A month earlier she had returned to her parents' house from her home in the Virgin Islands because of their age and deteriorating health. Dr. Hagen had cut short a promising medical career in urology in 1987 to move to the Virgin Islands to operate an inn with her second husband.

A 1973 graduate of the Harvard Medical School, she had once planned a career in treatment of bladder and kidney cancer. In the mid-70's, she became the first woman appointed a resident in urology at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. In 1982, she was appointed chief of urology at the Rutgers Medical School in New Jersey.

Soon after she returned to Chatham, Dr. Hagen's chronic depression deepened because of the loss of her medical career and two failed marriages, her fears about her parents' health, and her own fears that her depression would lead to institutionalization, said a defense psychiatrist, Robert L. Sadoff.

Both Dr. Sadoff and Dr. Steven Simring, who testified for the prosecution, said Dr. Hagen's depression deepened so much in August 2000 that she thought she was receiving messages from televisions ads, traffic lights and playing cards. They both said she also heard a male voice she took to be her father's commanding her to commit the murders, because once they occurred, she and her parents would go to what Dr. Simring called a ''childlike, magical sphere where they'd regain their happiness.''

Both psychiatrists also testified that Dr. Hagen heard a female voice telling her she could join her parents in the sphere if she performed rituals that including walking in circles and going up and down the stairs backward. At times after the killings, she did both and also spent hours curled up in a quilt between her parents' beds, where their bodies lay, waiting to go to the sphere, they said. This persisted for four to eight days before Dr. Hagen called the police, they testified.

A detective, Michael Rice, of the Morris County prosecutor's office, testified today that Mr. Hagen had called his daughter ''a slut and harlot'' a day before the murders because of her failed marriages, and she pushed her father onto a couch.

Deborah Factor, an assistant Morris County prosecutor, asked the psychiatrists if they considered the killings an act of vindictiveness or mercy killings. Both said no.

 
 

Parents Dead, Former Doctor Is Now Suspect

By Elissa Gootman - The New York Times

August 28, 2000

As far as neighbors could tell, Dr. I. Kathleen Hagen was not just an accomplished Harvard-educated doctor but a devoted daughter who left her home in the Virgin Islands and returned to care for her ailing parents in their modest home in Chatham Township, N.J.

Even when Dr. Hagen, 54, was living on the island of St. Thomas, the couple's neighbors said, she visited her parents frequently, working in the garden with her father and, when Tropical Storm Floyd hit, helping pump water out of the sloping driveway next to her parents' home, a three-bedroom 1950's ranch home surrounded by more stately houses.

Now, neighbors, the police and prosecutors are struggling to piece together the chain of events that led to Dr. Hagen's being charged this weekend with the murder of her parents, Idella F. Hagen, 92, and James Hagen, 86.

At 6:45 a.m. Saturday, Dr. Hagen telephoned the police to say that her parents were dead, said Capt. Christopher D. Linne, a spokesman for the Morris County prosecutor's office. Captain Linne said ''there were additional conversations'' between Dr. Hagen and the police, but he would not say whether she had confessed.

When the police arrived at the Hagen home, at 614 Fairmont Avenue, they found Mr. and Mrs. Hagen in their nightclothes in twin beds in the master bedroom, Captain Linne said. The Morris County medical examiner determined that they had been asphyxiated, he said.

The couple had been dead for three to seven days when their bodies were discovered, officials at the prosecutor's office said.

When the police arrived, Dr. Hagen was wearing a nightgown that appeared to have been worn for several days, said the Morris County prosecutor, John B. Dangler. ''She appeared to be very distraught,'' he said.

Dr. Hagen's bail has been set at $2.5 million, and she is scheduled to appear before a Morris County Superior Court judge either today or tomorrow, Mr. Dangler said. Even though Dr. Hagen has ''a sizable amount of personal wealth,'' Mr. Dangler said, she has not moved to post her own bail and she remains in the Morris County jail.

Investigators have not determined a motive for the killing, the authorities said. But for Dr. Hagen, the arrest is the latest twist in an unconventional life in which she left an apparently successful career in urology to manage a small island inn.Records indicate that Idella Kathleen Hagen graduated from Harvard Medical School in 1973. She was an intern and a surgery resident at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston until 1975, when she became the first woman to be appointed a urology resident there. By 1979, Dr. Hagen was a fellow at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York.

According to The Daily Record of Morris County, Dr. Hagen was appointed chief of the urology division at Rutgers Medical School in 1982 and was chief urologist at Rutgers's main teaching hospital, Middlesex General in New Brunswick. The hospital is now called the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, and the medical school is Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.

While officials said that Dr. Hagen's medical license was valid until next year, she seemed to have dropped her medical career in the late 1980's, when she moved to the island of St. Thomas with her husband at the time, William Tyrrell of Stuart, Fla.

Mr. Tyrrell did not return several telephone calls to his home yesterday. The prosecutor's office said that Dr. Hagen had been married and divorced twice.

From about 1987 until 1992, Dr. Hagen and Mr. Tyrrell lived on St. Thomas, where they operated the West Indies Inn, said their landlord, Richard Doumeng, the general manager of the Bolongo Bay Beach Club. They left that business after a series of storms ravaged the building and hurt tourism, he said.

''They had put so much of their blood, sweat and tears into the place, and then it got severely damaged,'' Mr. Doumeng said. ''They just didn't have the energy to do it again.'' Mr. Doumeng said the inn was Mr. Tyrrell's dream more than his wife's. ''Their time here took a toll on them as a couple.''

Dr. Hagen had been living with her parents since last month, the authorities said. ''She was in between careers and was torn between staying with her parents and going back down to the Virgin Islands,'' said Scott Tucker, 48, a neighbor.

''We had no idea what she was going through,'' said Mr. Tucker's wife, Laura. ''It must have been something awful.''

 

 

 
 
 
 
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