updated 10/14/2008 9:19:59 PM ET 2008-10-15T01:19:59

Prosecutors in the case of a mentally ill patient accused of hacking a psychotherapist to death with a meat cleaver decided Tuesday not to challenge a psychiatrist's finding that the man is not mentally fit to stand trial.

David Tarloff, 40, will be turned over to the state and sent to a mental institution, where he will be held indefinitely, said Manhattan state Supreme Court Justice Charles Solomon. Tarloff had faced the prospect of life in a maximum-security prison.

Tarloff, who told police he had been in mental institutions at least 20 times, was charged with first- and second-degree murder in the Feb. 12 death of Kathryn Faughey, 56, in her Upper East Side office.

Tarloff was also charged with attempted murder and first-degree assault in an attack on Dr. Kent Shinbach, 70, who was hurt when he tried to help Faughey. Shinbach, whose office was near Faughey's, was Tarloff's therapist.

Police said he wanted money so he could leave the country with his mother, who was in a nursing home. Tarloff was arrested after investigators matched his palm prints with those found at the crime scene.

The slain therapist's oldest brother, 60-year-old Kevin Faughey of Queens, expressed disappointment and frustration with the unfitness finding for Tarloff.

"I think there is a great deal of concern for him," said Faughey. "Where is the concern for my sister? ... In some ways, I don't see justice being done. We want justice, too. I don't see our family getting any justice."

As the criminal case proceeded, it became clear Tarloff had deep mental problems. His attorney said Tarloff suffered from paranoid schizophrenia and depression and believed he was the Messiah. He reported seeing images of God and Jesus on jailhouse walls. At some point, he quit talking to his lawyers or anyone else and grew increasingly despondent after his mother died this summer.

Tarloff's attorney, Bryan Konoski, does not deny that Tarloff killed Faughey or critically injured the other therapist, but he said his client lacked criminal responsibility for the attacks because he is psychotic. He noted that four court-appointed psychiatrists have found Tarloff unfit for trial.

Konoski said he did not believe Tarloff had been taking his psychoactive medicine. The lawyer said he believes that officials at the state facility will be able to obtain an order to allow force-feeding of Tarloff's medication.

Assistant District Attorney Evan Krutoy did not comment as he left court.

Konoski said he believes the state will keep Tarloff at a mental hospital for at least six to 12 months of treatment before authorities try again to determine whether he is fit for trial. But Konoski also said Tarloff possibly may never be found fit for trial.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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