Several psychiatrists and Eastern State Hospital were negligent in their handling of a schizophrenic man who shot and killed a prominent defense lawyer in Somerset, the lawyer's widow has charged in a lawsuit.
The complaint said Clinton D. Inabnit, 41, had been treated at Eastern State, in Lexington, four times in recent years, but was released while still delusional each time.
Inabnit made specific threats to kill the lawyer, Mark Stanziano, as well as other threats of violence, but doctors failed in their duty to warn Stanziano or notify police, the lawsuit charged.
Inabnit was at Eastern State for five days in May 2014 before he was released while "actively experiencing psychotic delusions," according to the lawsuit filed by Bethany L. Stanziano.
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Inabnit shot and killed Mark Stanziano on June 27, 2014, 44 days after he was released, the lawsuit said.
Stanziano, 57, was one of the state's best-known criminal defense attorneys.
He had handled a number of high-profile cases and had been the youngest lawyer to win the top award from the Kentucky Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.
Inabnit suffered from paranoid schizophrenia and had a history of arrests on charges that included public intoxication, disorderly conduct and terroristic threatening.
Inabnit lived in an apartment across the street from Stanziano's law office in downtown Somerset.
He ambushed Stanziano as he arrived at work shortly before 8 a.m., shooting him six times with a 9 mm pistol. Stanziano fell to the sidewalk a few yards from the door of his office and died within minutes.
A sheriff's detective saw the shooting, which was less than a block from the county courthouse, and quickly handcuffed Inabnit.
Inabnit told police he had received a message through the local newspaper the day before telling him to kill Stanziano.
He also said he received messages from music and heard ringing in his ears, which unidentified people told him would stop if he shot Stanziano, a detective testified.
Inabnit was scheduled to go to trial early next month. However, on Monday he pleaded guilty but mentally ill on a murder charge and also pleaded guilty to wanton endangerment. Commonwealth's Attorney Eddy Montgomery said the plea agreement calls for a 20-year sentence.
Inabnit must serve at least 17 years of that because it was a violent offense.
In addition, Montgomery said the plea calls for Inabnit to be on probation on the wanton endangerment conviction for three years after finishing his prison sentence, creating a way to keep him on his medication.
"I don't want him walking out of prison someday with nobody looking over his shoulder," Montgomery said.
Inabnit is to be sentenced in August.
Bethany Stanziano's lawsuit alleges Eastern State and four doctors who treated Inabnit knew or should have known of his propensity for violence, but breached their legal requirement and negligently released him. That negligence caused Mark Stanziano's death, the lawsuit said.
Bethany Stanziano, of Columbia, filed the lawsuit Monday in Fayette Circuit Court against University of Kentucky Healthcare, doing business as Eastern State Hospital, and doctors Andrew T. Cooley, Charles Shelton, Muhammad Ashfaq and Judy A. Ognibene. Stanziano, an attorney, is representing herself.
A spokesman said UK Healthcare had no comment.