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Lawyer for Tarloff says he is insane; Corona man’s attorney builds defense on doctor’s evaluation

David Tarloff, the Corona man accused of murdering a Manhattan therapist in February with a meat cleaver, will pursue an insanity defense, his attorney said.

At a hearing April 15, Bryan Konoski told Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Charles Solomon that a doctor's recent psychiatric evaluation of Tarloff, 40, supported the strategy.

"He was of the opinion that we have a very strong insanity defense," Konoski said in an interview Monday.

Tarloff was returned to Bellevue Hospital from Rikers Island by the city Corrections Department without the court order Konoski requested at an April 1 hearing, the Manhattan district attorney's office said.

"We're hoping that this is a permanent move back and certainly it should be permanent since more thorough evaluation and treatment and care is necessary," Konoski said.

Tarloff's mental condition was deteriorating at Rikers Island, where other inmates taunted and attacked him, Konoski said.

Tarloff's next court date is May 20, when the psychiatrist for the defense will present written findings of Tarloff's mental condition.

Tarloff was arrested Feb. 16 in the murder of Kathryn Faughey and the slashing of her business partner, Ken Shinbach. He has been charged with first- and second-degree murder and attempted murder. If convicted, he faces up to life in prison.

During police questioning, Tarloff told detectives he had gone to the Manhattan office to rob Shinbach in order to take Tarloff's invalid mother to Hawaii, according to court papers. Tarloff had two suitcases full of adult diapers, women's clothing and knives with him during the attack, police said.

Tarloff told police he had been institutionalized approximately 21 times in the past, including an instance in 1991 shortly after he met Shinbach, whom he blamed in part for the incident, court papers show.

"He then saw Dr. Shinbach in court when he got committed, but didn't talk to Dr. Shinbach," the detectives' notes say. "[Defendant] stated that his father knew he was mad at Dr. Shinbach."

Regarding the night of the murder, Tarloff told detectives, "I didn't go there to hurt anyone," the court papers show.

Reach reporter Jeremy Walsh by e-mail at jwalsh@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 154.

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