Judge rules that man accused of attacking his mother is incompetent to stand trialBy KIMBERLY HOUGHTON
Union Leader Correspondent
April 04. 2014 9:13PM
NASHUA — A man accused of brutally assaulting his mother during an attack in 2012 has again been deemed incompetent to stand trial.
Attorneys must now decide how to handle the charges against Thomas V. Foden, 40, who allegedly assaulted his mother so severely that it left her without an ear and caused her to lose vision in one of her eyes.
Foden, who has a history of mental illness, will be back in court later this month for a dangerousness hearing. In the meantime, the state has indicated that it will file a petition seeking involuntary commitment.
Foden was arrested on three felony charges of second-degree assault and one count of burglary for the Nov. 25, 2012, attack on his mother, Alicia J. Flanders of Merrimack. Police say he allegedly invaded her home and began assaulting her, pushing her into a glass cabinet, severing her left ear and puncturing her left eye socket.
Dr. Daniel Comiskey, chief forensic examiner for the New Hampshire Department of Corrections, previously told the court that Foden had been diagnosed with schizophrenia.
Foden, according to court documents, “holds very strong negative beliefs about psychiatry and mental health treatment, including the belief that mental illness is used by the government as a means of control or social hygiene, as well as the contention that he does not suffer from any mental illness.”
Comiskey determined last year that Foden was incompetent to stand trial, and after a more recent evaluation, has again determined the same findings, according to court documents.
The court agreed, and Judge Kathleen McGuire ruled last month that Foden still has not been restored to competency.
During a previous court hearing, attorneys said Foden had just been released from Southern New Hampshire Medical Center about 24 to 36 hours before the assault on his mother.
“This case is everybody’s worst nightmare,” Melissa Kowalewski, prosecutor for the Merrimack Police Department, told the court during Foden’s original arraignment on the charges.
“These pictures are some of the most awful pictures I’ve ever seen,” Judge Clifford Kinghorn said at the time while looking at photographs of Flanders’ injuries. “My heart goes out to that mother.”
Foden has a history of arrests. In 1994 he was convicted of possession of a controlled drug, and in 1997 he was convicted of simple assault and resisting arrest.
In an unrelated matter, Flanders, who is an area landlord, previously rented a Manchester apartment to Lynne Melk Brennan. Flanders found Brennan’s body at the 267 River Road apartment in October of 2010. Brennan’s death has been ruled a homicide, and the case remains unsolved.
Foden’s dangerousness hearing has been scheduled for 9 a.m. April 14 at the Hillsborough County Superior Court.