An East Norwich man who called 911 last year to report he had killed his wife because he was afraid “evil terrorists were going to get her,” before also trying to end his own life took an insanity plea Wednesday, court records show.
Warren Ducker, 68, pleaded not responsible by reason of mental disease or defect in Nassau County Court in connection with the Oct. 30, 2016, fatal stabbing of his wife, Wendy Ginsberg-Ducker, 61.
A Nassau County grand jury had indicted Ducker on a second-degree murder charge, according to court files.
“The justice system has done the best it can by Mr. Ducker and his family under these very tragic circumstances,” his attorney, Toni Marie Angeli, said Thursday.
She added Ducker had a long history of mental illness, but also a loving relationship with his wife, for whom he was the primary caretaker as she underwent cancer treatment. The court file shows a psychiatrist for the defense initially found Ducker had symptoms of dementia “such as confusion and memory loss, late onset psychosis, bizarre behaviors, and neurologic symptoms.”
District attorney’s spokesman Brendan Brosh extended condolences to the victim’s family and friends Thursday, while saying prosecutors consented to a not responsible plea “based on extensive psychiatric evaluations and the evidence.”
Records show Ducker also told police he heard voices telling him ISIS was going to torture him and his wife and he decided to kill her and himself “to prevent unimaginable suffering.”
In January 2016, the victim wrote on Facebook she and husband had been married 15 years and he was “supportive and loving” as she fought cancer. She worked as a mental health peer specialist for nearly two decades, according to a GoFundMe page on which she tried to raise money to help pay bills as she underwent chemotherapy.
The state will take custody of Ducker for observation and testing before a finding on his level of dangerousness, his attorney said. In such a case, a judge then decides if the person needs psychiatric facility confinement, and the level of security required, or if that person can be released, the state Office of Mental Health has said previously. After 18 months of confinement, a patient’s future status is evaluated, and then reviewed every two years. It takes a court order for release, the state agency has said.