WARREN - A local killer housed in a facility for the criminally insane has appealed a judge's decision in July that he should not be transferred to a less restrictive level in the hospital.
James Hubbard, who was found not guilty by reason of insanity in the shooting death of a Howland woman in 1991, claims that Common Pleas Judge W. Wyatt McKay abused his discretion and prosecutors failed to prove by clear and convincing evidence that a recommended change in conditions of commitment to a less restrictive setting would pose a threat to public safety.
McKay ruled earlier in the year that Hubbard must remain at what's known as a Level 3, where he is allowed to roam the grounds of Heartland Behavioral Healthcare in Massillon, without any supervision.
Hubbard, through doctors treating him at the facility, was seeking to move to Level 4, which would have allowed him access to locations outside of the hospital property, such as restaurants, movie theaters and other types of field trips that would be supervised by hospital staff members. Hubbard points out in his appeal, being heard by the 11th District Court of Appeals, that a doctor recommended the change.
Hubbard, who is a veteran, goes off-grounds to a Veterans Administration hospital in Canton.
Hubbard, 46, was found not guilty by reason of insanity in the killing of motorist Sallie Beatty, 21, of Howland, in an apparent random violent act Sept. 12, 1991, at the former Taco Bell on Youngstown Warren Road, Niles.
Diagnosed as a chronic paranoid schizophrenic who once spoke to news reporters about his brain receiving voice-like signals about the "spies'' who were after him, Hubbard was never convicted of firing his .38-caliber gun at an Austintown brunette in a red car moments before shooting Beatty, also brunette.