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Mentally ill man acquitted of '96 fatal attack on nuns dies

Posted July 12

— A mentally ill man acquitted of killing two nuns in Maine in 1996 and severely injuring two other nuns has died.

The Kennebec Journal reports (http://bit.ly/2uirMzu ) the state Department of Health and Human Services said in a letter that 58-year-old Mark Bechard died Sunday in Freeport.

The department said Bechard was recently diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease, and had experienced a steady decline in respiratory function.

Bechard was committed to a state psychiatric hospital in October 1996 after he was found not criminally responsible, by reason of mental disease or defect, on two counts of murder for the January 1996 attack at Servants of the Blessed Sacrament chapel in Waterville. Authorities said he was suffering a psychotic episode when he attacked the four nuns.

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