North Country
12:36 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

Insanity Plea To Send Man Accused of Trustee's Murder To Psychiatric Ward

 

Catherine Houghton
Catherine Houghton
Credit The White Mountain School

 

  The Vermont man accused of killing a California woman during a chance encounter in Littleton is pleading not guilty by reason of insanity. And, he has agreed to be placed in the psychiatric ward of the state prison.

Rodney Hill was charged with second degree murder in the death of 70-year-old Catherine Houghton, a trustee of the White Mountain School, who was visiting for a board meeting in January 2013.

Houghton and Hill had a chance encounter in the lobby of The Hampton Inn and Hill fatally stabbed Houghton.

Hill, later told police he thought Houghton was the devil, who had previously taken the form of his father and posed a threat to his family.

The case is being settled without going to trial, said Susan Morrell, the senior assistant attorney general handling the case.

“We’ve agreed that he was not sane at the time that he committed his crime, that his conduct was the product of a mental illness,” she said.

Hill has agreed to be confined for five years in the psychiatric ward at the state prison.  That committal is then reviewed every five years for the remainder of Hill’s life.

Houghton had worked for the U.S. Foreign Service, spoke 14 languages, was a pilot and was admired for her charity work.