Kidnapper Insane, Returned to Prison – For Now
A Humboldt County, Calif., jury on Monday (Nov. 1) found a 33-year-old man not guilty by reason of insanity for the 1999 kidnapping of a girl at a Mattole Beach campground, the Contra Costa Times reported.
The case goes back to Aug. 8, 1999, when Matthew Paul Scheidt tried to kidnap an 11-year-old girl at the Mattole Beach campground. The girl’s mother had gone to get water just a few yards away, when she turned and saw a man binding her daughter’s wrists with tape. The girl’s screaming alerted other campers, who foiled the kidnapping attempt. Scheidt, a 21-year-old transient from Eureka at the time, was later arrested in Petrolia.
In Humboldt County Superior Court on Aug. 10, Scheidt told the judge that he was hoping for the maximum prison sentence.
”I just want the maximum sentence possible so I can get away from my mirror for as long as possible,” Scheidt said, according to Times-Standard reports.
Scheidt pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity in November 1999, and in March 2001, the court found him to be insane. Scheidt was committed to Atascadero State Hospital and then transferred to Napa State Hospital. In 2006, Scheidt asked the court to restore his sanity and to release him on an outpatient status, which was granted.
But just before his release, the Conditional Release Program director interviewed Scheidt and strongly advised the court not to allow Scheidt to be released. The director said that Scheidt claimed he didn’t need further sex offender treatment and claimed a positive drug test was the result of eating an entire poppy seed cake.
The court determined Scheidt was an unreasonable risk to the community.
In December 2009, Scheidt filed a request with the court that his plea be vacated, claiming he hasn’t been advised that the plea meant that he could be confined for life to a state hospital. The Humboldt County Superior Court threw out the request, and when Scheidt appealed, the California 1st Appellate District dismissed the appeal.
The Superior Court jury returned on Monday after two days of deliberations to find that Scheidt has a mental disorder that he is not in control of and that he poses a high risk to others.
Judge Bruce Watson extended Scheidt’s commitment in Napa State Hospital for another two years. Scheidt will be entitled to another hearing in two years, according to the Humboldt County Deputy District Attorney Arnold Klein, who prosecuted the case.