Fentress' detention won't be disputed
Murderer to stay in secure hospital.

June 26, 2008

Fentress' detention won't be disputed

Murderer to stay in secure hospital

By Larry Hertz
Poughkeepsie Journal

A former Poughkeepsie school teacher who killed and cannibalized a teenager in 1979 will not contest his detention in a secure men- tal hospital for at least two more years, his attorney said Wednesday.

Albert Fentress, 66, has been held in various mental facilities since 1980, when a judge ruled he was insane when he killed 18-year-old Paul Masters in the basement of his City of Poughkeepsie home in August 1979. Fentress has been in a locked ward at Mid-Hudson Psychiatric Center in Goshen, Orange County, since 2002.

Under state law, Fentress has the right to request a hearing in state Supreme Court every two years to determine whether he is no longer dangerous and should be released from the hospital or moved to a less restrictive facility.

A hearing had been tentatively scheduled for next month before state Supreme Court Judge James Catterson in Suffolk County. But on Wednesday, Kim Darrow, an attorney with Suffolk County's Mental Hy-giene Legal Services division, said his client had decided not to request his day in court.

"We are consenting to retention," Darrow said.

Fentress, who was a history teacher at Poughkeepsie Middle School, admitted luring 18-year-old Paul Masters, of the Town of Poughkeepsie, into his home on Aug. 19, 1979. He then threatened Masters with a gun, tied him up in his basement and sexually mutilated him before eating some of his body parts. He then shot Masters in the head.

Fentress was housed at the Mid-Hudson Psychiatric Center from 1980-84, when he was transferred to a less secure facility in Suffolk County. He was returned to Mid-Hudson six years ago after two former Poughkeepsie men testified at another hearing before Catterson that Fentress had molested them when they were children.

Catterson said the testimony indicated Fentress was not being truthful during his years of therapy because he had never revealed the incidents to his doctors.

Lawyers with the state Attorney General's office and the Dutchess County District Attorney's office had opposed Fentress' release from the hospital.

Senior Assistant District Attorney Edward McLoughlin said he welcomed Fentress' decision not to ask to be released.

"We were prepared to go forward at the hearing with professional and civil witnesses, but Mr. Fentress has agreed to be retained," McLoughlin said. "We are pleased that he will remain in a secure facility for the next two years."