A Superior Court Judge ruled that a Linwood man who fatally stabbed his elderly neighbor, injured her daughter and a Good Samaritan, was found not guilty by reason of insanity and the defendant will be committed to a psychiatric facility, Atlantic County Prosecutor Ted Housel announced.
On Oct. 8, 2009, Anthony Milano, 66, of E12 Jefferson Court, stabbed to death Catherine McGowan, 89, in front of the victim’s E10 Jefferson Court home. While Milano was attacking McGowan, her daughter Diane Nehmad, 60 at the time, arrived and attempted to intervene and was also attacked. Eugene Pepper, 84 at the time he attempted to step in and was stabbed by Milano. Milano was arrested at the scene and police recovered a large folding-knife from Milano. Nehmad and Pepper were transported to the hospital where they were treated for their injuries, according to Chief Assistant Prosecutor John Maher who represented the prosecution.
Shortly after the crimes, Milano was charged with one count of murder; two counts of attempted murder and aggravated assault as it relates to the two surviving victims, and possession of a knife for an unlawful purpose. He was indicted in December of 2009.
During the one-day non-jury trial today, Superior Court Judge Max Baker found that the facts supported a finding that Milano murdered McGowan and attempted to murder Nehmad and Pepper. However, reports from four forensic psychiatrists, two on behalf of the state and two on behalf of the defense, opined that the defendant was not guilty by reason of insanity. The judge accepted the expert opinions and found Milano not guilty by reason of insanity, Chief Assistant Prosecutor Maher said.
“This does not mean that Milano will be released to the community,” Prosecutor Housel stated. “Pursuant to New Jersey law, Judge Baker, after considering issues of lesser included offenses, committed Milano in a criminal context to the custody of the Department of Human Services for a term of life plus 45 years. Although his criminal commitment will be subject to periodic review under criminal law, the nature of his mental illness is such that I am confident he will not be released for many years, if at all,” Housel said.