Man from Orange found not guilty by reason of mental defect in slaying of his mother

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Timothy Granata Arraignment

MILFORD–A young man from Orange who was charged with killing his mother has been found not guilty by reason of mental defect.

On July 24, 2014, just weeks before the Hopkins High grad was set to start his senior year at Lehigh University, Timothy Granata was arrested for killing Claudia Granata, 58, in the home they both lived in on Wild Rose Drive in Orange. Relatives called 911–including Timothy–to report the death, and officers found Timothy near the family home covered in blood with a cell phone in one hand a Bible in the other. He surrendered without incident and told officers he killed his mom.

Claudia died from blunt impact and sharp force injury of head, neck, torso and extremities. Her death was ruled a homicide.

Granata’s attorney, Charles Tiernan, had argued his client had a mental health history, and from the day after Granata’s arrest Tiernan had asked that he be placed in the Garner Correctional Institution in Newtown. The judge granted that request.

Less than two weeks later Granata was placed on a suicide watch and ordered to undergo a psychiatric evaluation.

He was found competent to stand trial in December after being evaluated, but on March 22, 2015, Tiernan filed a “notice of intention to rely upon the affirmative defense of mental disease or defect.”

By pleading not guilty by reason of insanity, Granata affirmed his role in his mother’s death, but claimed he was not responsible due to “mental disease or defect.”

Granata has been remanded to Whiting Forensic Division of Connecticut Valley Hospital so that doctors can write up a report to present to the court on January 20, when Granata will learn his fate.