Coakley Orders Investigation in Death of Bridgewater Mental Health Patient

Subject: Joshua Messier.
Joshua Messier, a 23-year-old mental health patient at Bridgewater State Hospital, died in 2009 while strapped to a bed. A special investigation has now been ordered to look into his death and the conditions at Bridgewater State.
The Boston Globe

Attorney General Martha Coakley has ordered a criminal investigation in the 2009 death of Joshua K. Messier, a 23-year-old mental health patient at Bridgewater State Hospital that died while his wrists and ankles were strapped to the corners of a bed.

A state medical examiner had ruled the death a homicide, but no charges were ever filed. Plymouth District Attorney Timothy Cruz cited insufficient evidence that a crime was committed.

The Boston Globe reported that Coakley appointed former Middlesex prosecutor Martin F. Murphy to resolve any “lingering questions” surrounding the case.

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According to the report, Coakley called for the investigation after Messier’s family and four mental illness advocacy groups “accused state officials of presiding over a ‘whitewash’ of the circumstances surrounding Messier’s death.”

Murphy will also take a broader look at the conditions at Bridgewater State, a medium-security prison that house about 280 mental health patients, as well as other state prisons that house the mentally ill, the report added.

You can read the full Boston Globe report here.