Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today announced that the state Supreme Court upheld an application by the New York State Commissioner of Mental Health to retain Daniel Rakowitz at Kirby Forensic Psychiatric Center on Wards Island, an application supported by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office. Rakowitz was charged with the 1989 murder of his roommate, after which he confessed to cooking pieces of her body and attempting to dispose of her remains. In 1991 a jury found him not responsible by reason of mental disease or defect, otherwise known as the insanity defense.

“This decision continues to protect the residents of New York,” said District Attorney Vance. “Two decades after the brutal murder and dismemberment of Monika Beerle, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office remains committed to keeping Daniel Rakowitz in a secure psychiatric facility. This case is an example of the Office’s ongoing work, particularly by our Special Litigation Bureau, to ensure public safety by fighting the release of dangerously mentally ill insanity acquittees into the community.”

As a patient in the New York State mental health system, Rakowitz periodically comes up for review pursuant to CPL 330.20 to assess whether he continues to suffer from a dangerous mental disorder. Each assessment and subsequent court hearing or civil jury trial has resulted in the continuation of his retention at Kirby, a secure psychiatric facility for the dangerously mentally ill. Rakowitz can seek transfer to a less secure hospital or full release again in January, 2012.

District Attorney Vance thanked Deputy Chief of the Trial Division Assistant District Attorney Gary J. Galperin for his work on the case, which he has pursued since 1991.