A man charged with assault for allegedly biting part of a hospital employee’s finger off pleaded not guilty by reason of mental illness in Natrona County District Court on Thursday.
Andrew Barrett also pleaded not guilty to the single felony count of aggravated assault and battery. He could face up to 10 years in prison, a $10,000 fine or both if convicted.
His bond is set at $100,000 cash or surety.
On Feb. 1, Casper police responded to a report from Wyoming Medical Center of Barrett being violent towards staff members. According to an affidavit in the case, officers found a trail of blood leading out of his room upon arriving and being told Barrett had just “bit the finger off” a hospital security officer.
Court documents state it took eight people including police, hospital security, doctors and nurses to restrain Barrett after the bite. Witnesses reportedly told investigators he had been displaying manic behaviors earlier in the night and had been trying to eat the stuffing out of a pillow. When a staff member took the pillow away, witnesses said, Barrett became combative.
According to the affidavit, Barrett bit the employee while nurses and security officers were trying to put a spit mask, a plastic covering meant to stop someone from spitting on or biting others, over his head.
Barrett reportedly jerked his head and bit the officer’s right index finger. According to court documents, the “majority of the fingertip” was taken off, and the finger “no longer had a nail bed.”
A doctor on the scene reportedly told police the fingertip could not be reattached because of the trauma sustained and risk of infection.
Barrett had been taken to the hospital earlier that night on an involuntary mental health hold.
Court filings show Barrett was arrested in Natrona County twice in late January for interfering with police officers, breaching the peace and various other misdemeanor charges.