Clinton Pusey, who beat his wife to death in 2005 and was found not guilty of the crime by reason of insanity, has been released to a halfway house in Fresno County.
Pusey, 82 and a former student adviser at Fresno Pacific University, was released Monday. When his insanity was determined in November 2007, it was expected that Pusey would live out his days in Atascadero State Hospital. But under state law, Pusey was eligible for release once his sanity was determined to be restored.
During court hearings, Pusey didn’t recall beating his wife, Mary Ann Larsen-Pusey, 67, to death with a baseball bat and a hammer, said his lawyer, Ralph Torres. She was a former Fresno Pacific professor.
Torres said Pusey’s family knew he loved his wife and came to his defense in court hearings. Prosecutors, Pusey’s family and his wife’s family all supported Fresno County Superior Court Judge Rosendo Peña’s finding of insanity.
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Pusey’s family said his mental health had been deteriorating for five years after he survived a near-fatal bout with cancer. They said he grew increasingly paranoid and thought people were trying to poison him and that his house was bugged.
When he was sent to Atascadero in 2007, he was “a fragile old man,” Torres said.
Torres said Pusey and his wife had plans to return to Pusey’s native Colombia in their retirement.
“He was sick when I had him,” Torres said. “They gave him medicine that made him sane, so he deserves to get out.”