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Published: Tuesday, 3/1/2005

Judge alters terms of release for dad who killed his son

BY JENNIFER FEEHAN
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Phillip Sharp will meet with the forensic monitor in Wood County once a year. Phillip Sharp will meet with the forensic monitor in Wood County once a year.
LISA DUTTON / BLADE Enlarge

BOWLING GREEN - A Wood County judge yesterday modified the conditions of release for a former West Millgrove, Ohio, man who was found not guilty by reason of insanity in 1995 for killing his 18-month-old son, Travis, and beating his wife and 6-year-old daughter with a claw hammer while they slept.

Acting upon the recommendations of a forensic monitor who meets with Phillip Sharp every six months, Judge Reeve Kelsey ordered that Mr. Sharp no longer receive outpatient psychotherapy and only meet with the forensic monitor in Wood County once a year.

Assistant Wood County Prosecutor Gary Bishop did not object to the changes in Mr. Sharp's release plan, which still require him to take medication, receive mental health services from South Community Behavioral Healthcare in Dayton, and have at least weekly contact with his case manager.

He cannot travel to Wood County without the court's permission and is not to have any contact with his now ex-wife, Sherri, who recovered from the attack, or his daughter, Ashley, who suffered permanent head injuries.

Mr. Sharp, 40, has been living independently in Dayton since November, 2000, when Judge Kelsey approved a plan that allowed him to be discharged from a Dayton psychiatric facility.

He had been a patient there for five years after he was found not guilty by reason of insanity for the Jan. 12, 1994, attack on his family.

At the time of the attack, Mr. Sharp told investigators he had been despondent over losing his job and relying on his wife to support the family.

A subsequent psychiatric exam showed he was "delusional with disorganized thoughts and with grandiose auditory hallucinations."

Yesterday, his attorney, Kathleen Hamm of the Wood County Public Defender's Office, told the court Mr. Sharp was employed full-time and was "in very good compliance" with the terms of his conditional release.

Dressed in blue jeans and a gray shirt, Mr. Sharp did not speak during the brief hearing.

In his report to the court, forensic monitor Clancy Yeager said Mr. Sharp was "most probably at a low level of risk for violent behavior if he continues to receive psychotropic medication under the supervision of a psychiatrist."

Mr. Sharp is to be back in court in October, 2006, for his next conditional release review hearing.

Judge Kelsey said afterward that those hearings would continue indefinitely.

"There may be a point in the future at which time the professionals - the psychiatrists and the psychologists - will say that he is sufficiently recovered and they have no fear that he will stop taking his medications," the judge said. "At that time, they might move to terminate the conditional release."

The county prosecutor would then have the burden of proving that Mr. Sharp should remain under the court's eye, he said.

"I don't know whether that point in time will ever be reached in this case," Judge Kelsey said.

Ms. Hamm declined to comment.

Contact Jennifer Feehan at:

jfeehan@theblade.com

or 419-353-5972.



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