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Published: September 10, 2008 05:30 am ShareThisPrintThis
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Homeless man charged in fire sent to hospital
By Julie Manganis
Staff writer

SALEM - A homeless man who was involved in a series of bizarre incidents in May, including a fire at the Kernwood Country Club, was found not guilty by reason of insanity yesterday following a brief trial.
Philip Grieves, 35, was then ordered committed to Bridgewater State Hospital for at least six months.
Grieves came to the attention of police several times over a three-day period last May, including incidents in which he ran barefoot down the street, stood in the middle of Route 114 feeding doughnuts to birds, and wandered the halls of downtown office buildings. In each incident he said he was acting on the direction of God.
On May 15, he was charged with setting a grass fire near the 15th hole at the Kernwood Country Club. When police caught up with him he dropped to his knees and said, "The fire, it was God's work."
A psychiatrist who evaluated Grieves found that he was in a psychotic, manic state brought on by his failure to take medications for bipolar disorder and his use of alcohol.
Dr. Elizabeth Wollheim testified that Grieves, who has been taking his medication while in custody, was competent to stand trial - but that it would be risky to release him because he has a long history of going off his medication, making him a danger to himself or others.
The Salem Police Department created a community impact unit last year in part to deal with the issues of mentally ill homeless people.
 

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Salem Police Department created a community impact unit last year in part to deal with the issues of mentally ill homeless people.

Its a start, a step in the right direction.
 
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