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Inmate who gouged own eyes pleads not guilty to assault

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — A Maine inmate who blinded himself by gouging his own eyes has pleaded not guilty to assaulting a fellow patient at a psychiatric hospital.

James Staples is accused of punching a woman at an Augusta psychiatric hospital earlier this year.

He was then placed in a mental health unit at the Maine State Prison, where he blinded himself.

The Kennebec Journal reports (http://bit.ly/2unefCJ ) a judge indicated Wednesday she’s likely to find Staples not criminally responsible, but continued the hearing until July 10 so defense and prosecution could determine where to send him if he’s released from prison.

Staples had agreed to go to a facility in South Carolina, but that’s no longer an option.

The judge said it’s “shameful” no Maine facility could be found to house Staples.

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