For the second time in about two years, Travis Dylan Hazelwood’s bid for a conditional release was denied.
Hazelwood, charged in December 2014 with first degree murder and use of a firearm in connection with the shooting death of Larry Guilliam, 63, of Claudville, was found not guilty by reason of insanity in March 2016.
In her closing arguments opposing the release, Patrick County Commonwealth’s Attorney Dayna Bobbitt said the court shared many of the concerns that prosecutors had, “specifically regarding the lack of specificity and structure of the conditional release plan.”
With the multiple reports and documents available at the hearing, Bobbitt said “it’s the Commonwealth’s position that there is not very much new information and the concerns we had at the last hearing are still glaringly obvious. Because of the lack of new information and lack of specificity in the current plan I submit to your honor that those concerns have not been addressed by the petitioner.”
For instance, she said the Conditional Release Plan (CRP) developed by the department and the Community Services Board (CSB) violates their own guidelines. “This is not the first time this has happened. In reading back through case records, it appears this has been an ongoing issue.”
Bobbitt noted that “by their own policy, this is supposed to be a graduated, step-down process, giving” those released “a little more freedom with each step in order to successfully acclimate them back into society with providing the most safety for the community as possible.”
However, “this plan does not do that at all,” Bobbitt said. “Furthermore, there has been no evidence presented that anyone on the treatment team has ever requested longer overnight passes for Hazelwood. He currently has 48-hour passes,” and before release, Bobbitt said “we need to look at longer passes in the community and see how he does with that first.”
She noted that Hazelwood “has made progress and appears to be going in the right direction, but it’s not fair to him and it’s not fair to the community to cut corners or skip steps. If we do that, I fear that we are setting Mr. Hazelwood up for failure. He is going from a very structured environment, spending half of his nights in the hospital and half of his nights at his apartment to spending every night at his apartment on his own.”
In summary, Bobbitt noted there has been years “to craft a solid plan that ensures the petitioner’s compliance, but also ensures the safety of the community. That has not been done here.
“At the end of the day, your honor, this was a case where a man died. This conditional release plan is doing a disservice to the petitioner and our community,” Bobbitt said. “The petitioner deserves better, the victim’s family deserves better, and the community as a whole deserve better than the bare minimum, which is what this plan gives us.”