Psychiatric Hospital Worker Slain by Patient

NAPA, Calif. — Staff members at a California psychiatric hospital are concerned about their safety after a mentally ill patient reportedly robbed and killed a veteran worker at the facility.

Napa State Hospital staff became concerned for psychiatric technician Donna Gross’ safety when she did not return to her unit after her dinner break. The 54-year-old’s body was found at 6:10 p.m. on Oct. 23 in a courtyard at the facility, reports the San Francisco Gate.

Jess Massey, 37, has been arrested for Gross’ murder. Massey, who had been determined to be legally insane by the courts, allegedly confronted Gross, who worked for the hospital for 14 years, on a commonly traveled path looking for money, according to the Napa County Sheriff’s Office. Massey, who has faced charges of robbery, assault and attempted murder, has been at the hospital since 1993. He is being held without bail.

The incident has reopened a wound with hospital employees who have been complaining about their safety to the Department of Mental Health for years. The 138-acre facility houses accused and convicted criminals who have been declared mentally unfit to stand trial or not guilty by reason of insanity. Many workers claim that most staff members have been assaulted by patients.

Additionally, staff members are concerned with the lack of security, arguing that the hospital is actually a correctional facility, but lacks the same security as a prison. Workers claim that hospital police are slow to respond because their headquarters are too far away from medical units.

For its part, the hospital said it plans to reduce patient attacks on workers by enhancing treatment, monitoring all facilities and removing materials that could be used as weapons.

Read the full story.


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