BRENTWOOD, N.H. (AP) — A man accused of shooting and wounding two police officers pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity on Thursday and was ordered to spend five years in a state prison psychiatric unit.
Ian MacPherson has previously pleaded not guilty to attempted murder and assault in the officers' shootings but announced in December he'd be changing his plea.
MacPherson was accused of shooting Manchester officers Ryan Hardy and Matthew O'Connor in May 2016 after they tried to question him in a gas station armed robbery that had happened the previous night.
Hardy was shot in the face, neck and back. O'Connor was treated for a gunshot wound to the leg. Both officers have returned to work.
MacPherson was arrested hours after the shootings and gave police a statement that included fictitious crime families and mind control, WMUR-TV said. He later was diagnosed as delusional and psychotic.
Rockingham County Superior Court Judge Andrew Schulman on Thursday praised the bravery of the officers before calling the shooting "a really, really sad case," WMUR reported .
The judge said that reports from a doctor of MacPherson's delusional, paranoid thinking combined with a handgun were a "really bad mixture."
There were about 50 Manchester police officers in the courtroom for the sentencing. Among them was police Chief Nick Willard, who said he talked with MacPherson's parents to say that this wasn't their fault. He said he expects that McPherson will be committed for the rest of his life.
A recent study by the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors found that more than 10,000 mentally ill people who haven't been criminally convicted, such as those found not guilty by reason of insanity, are involuntarily confined in psychiatric hospitals, The New York Times reported.
This story has been corrected to show the shooting happened in 2016, not last year.