BANGOR, Maine — The woman who police say was stabbed by a man later deemed incompetent to stand trial came forward Wednesday to air her concerns about the court’s decision to drop the charges against her alleged attacker.
Though her physical scar is fading, Maegan Hall, 26, said the emotional scar is still very much present.
“It’s something that I have to live with for the rest of my life — fear and always looking over my shoulder thinking that someone is standing behind me,” she said about the stabbing that occurred March 16 of last year.
According to police, Jason Dean, now 33, of Bangor, who did not know Hall, attacked her from behind and cut her with a steak knife as she was washing dishes at Java Joe’s Cafe in downtown Bangor.
“I haven’t been myself. My whole life has changed. I feel like I constantly have to watch my back,” said Hall, whose name the Bangor Daily News has not disclosed until now because the paper does not typically identify crime victims.
But Hall wanted to talk publicly after charges of attempted murder and aggravated assault against Dean, 33, were dismissed this week. During court proceedings on Tuesday, Penobscot County Superior Court Justice William Anderson said he had no choice but to dismiss the charges after the staff at Riverview Psychiatric Hos-pital in Augusta determined it was unlikely Dean could be restored to competency in the foreseeable future.
Dean’s attorney, David Bate, told court officials that Dean functions at the level of a 7-year-old and suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder with hallucinations.
Dean has been residing at Riverview since Anderson ruled on March 1 that he was incompetent to stand trial for his unprovoked attack on Hall.
Bate said Dean has agreed to remain voluntarily at Riverview and that Dean’s treatment goal was to be released eventually to a group home “where he would be supervised 24-7.” Dean was living in a group home and receiving treatment when the stabbing occurred.
Anderson ordered the Department of Health and Human Services to begin involuntary commitment proceedings against Dean. Without that measure, Dean could legally leave Riverview and refuse treatment.
On Wednesday, Hall questioned whether the legal system is doing enough to protect the public from Dean, who she believes continues to pose a threat.
“I wish the court system would look at the victims and what they go through instead of the mental incompetence of people who play the system and make others believe they’re too sick to stand trial,” she said.
Hall said Dean’s confinement “needs to be involuntary. He shouldn’t have a choice in coming and going, It’s not just me that I fear for — it’s the public I fear for.”
The state, she said, “needs to do its job and provide a place of residence for him whatever the cost before he does something to someone else, because next time someone could lose their life because the court allowed him to walk the streets again.”
Hall said Wednesday that on the day of the stabbing, she had stopped by Java Joe’s Cafe to help her aunt, who co-owned the shop at the time and had fallen behind on dishes.
She said she had been in the coffee shop for only a few minutes when Dean came up behind her and stabbed her in the neck with a steak knife.
Bangor police said Dean did not know Hall, who was pregnant at the time of the attack.
Hall, who suffered a 2-inch-long, half-inch-wide cut to the right side of her neck, was taken to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor, where her wound was treated. She was released from the hospital the same day.
Hall said that coming to terms with the attack has taken longer. She said she refused to leave her home alone during the first two months after she was stabbed and also saw a counselor.
A single mother of two, Hall bought Java Joe’s from her aunt and uncle seven months ago and now is its sole owner.
On Wednesday, Hall said she did not receive advance notice of Tuesday’s proceedings. She said she learned of it after a Bangor Daily News reporter attempted to reach her for comment at the coffee shop.
“I really would have liked to have been there. Yeah, I would have made a statement for sure,” she said. “The damage has already been done and I’m just frustrated. Where is my justice in all this?”