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Patient Charged in Slaying of Psychiatric Ward Attendant

June 1, 1987

YPSILANTI, Mich. (AP) _ A ward attendant at a psychiatric hospital was attacked and killed, and a patient was charged Monday with open murder.

The slaying of attendant Bernard Thomas Nosakowski was the first at the Ypsilanti Regional Psychiatric Hospital since the 1950s, said Department of Mental Health spokesman Larry Vandesande.

Nosakowski, 59, died at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Ann Arbor early Monday, about 12 hours after the attack, said Sgt. William Ward of the state police post.

Nosakowski had been beaten and kicked in the head and chest, and died of the head injuries, Ward said.

Patient Rodney William Sutton was being held in the Washentaw County Jail without bond Monday, officials said.

Sutton, 21, appeared before District Court Judge Thomas Shea and was remanded to jail, pending an arraignment Wednesday, said a clerk in Shea’s court.

Nosakowski was working an overtime shift Sunday afternoon on Ward A1-3, where patients are first admitted before being transferred to other wards, Ward said.

He was walking onto a screened patio when the suspect jumped him from behind and ″pummeled him,″ Ward said.

Another patient jumped on Sutton to pull him off Nosakowski, Ward said, but not in time to save the attendant. A nurse, Claudia McEntee, also was struck by the patient and was treated and released at Saline Community Hospital.

Sutton was committed to the center by his family on May 27 because of ″problems at home″ and had no criminal history, Ward said.

A union representing resident care aides said Nosakowski was the only staff member assigned to ward duty on ward A1-3 when the attack occured between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m.

″If Bernie hadn’t been working alone, he would probably be alive. Because he was alone, help was delayed too long to save him,″ said Julian VanSlyke, coordinator for Council 25 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

Nosakowski had worked at the hospital as an attendant for about 10 years, said Department of Mental Health spokesman Thomas DeLoach. Other sources said Nosakowski was close to retirement and had been working extra shifts to save more money for his retirement, The Ann Arbor News reported Monday.

DeLoach said hospital Administrator Joy Holland and other hospital staff were reviewing the death ″to see whether there was anything else we could have done.″

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