A man who killed his father with a samurai sword three years ago escaped last Tuesday from Trenton Psychiatric Hospital, which is located directly next to the College’s Country Club Apartments on Sullivan Way.
Michael Janicki, 22, murdered his father in July 2002. He later said mysterious strangers were threatening his family and that he had killed his father to spare his mother’s life.
During the trial he was diagnosed with schizophrenia and was later found not guilty due to insanity. He was originally sentenced to the Ann Klein Forensic Center in Trenton, but was transferred to Trenton Psychiatric Hospital last September due to progress in his recovery.
After his escape, the College issued flyers to students living in the Country Club Apartments which stated that a patient had escaped from the hospital, but they did not mention that Janicki was potentially dangerous.
“We later found out from the radio that this man had killed his father with a sword,” Michael Gleason, junior music education major, said.
The Trenton and Ewing Police Departments, as well as the hospital’s Human Services Police, were still searching for Janicki as of presstime Monday night. “He is considered dangerous and should not be approached,” Gary Brown, a Trenton Psychiatric Hospital spokesman, was quoted in an article in The Times of Trenton last week.
Janicki is described by The Times as a white male, 5 feet 7 inches tall. He has blue eyes, sandy hair and was last seen wearing a beige T-shirt, a dark green and black jacket and charcoal gray sweatpants.
“Campus police and Ewing police have been making routine checks since this has happened, sending a car to sit in the lot for an hour or so at a time,” Gleason said.
An error in communication led to Janicki’s escape. Two weeks before he fled, Janicki was given an increase in his medication, and lost the privilege of walking around the hospital campus by himself.
However, while the changes were recorded, workers were not aware of them. His pass card still allowed him access to all parts of the campus, and Janicki left the hospital unaccompanied by any workers.
Officials at the hospital are worried that Janicki may destabilize as he has not had access to his medication since his escape last Tuesday. A hospital spokesman declined to provide further comment. Despite the situation, many students on campus have not expressed much worry, and said they are not afraid to walk home from a party or to the store as long as they are with a group of friends.
Even at the Country Club Apartments, life continues as usual. “Why would the guy come right next to where he escaped from?” Gleason said.
At the time of the murder Janicki was a freshman at Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, staying at home in South Brunswick for the summer and working at a local bagel shop. Although he did have a history of psychological issues, they were never treated seriously before.
Regarding how seriously his problems were treated more recently, his mother, Cheryl Janicki, wrote in an e-mail to The Star-Ledger, “Please tell me. If it was that serious, how the hell did he walk out the front door?”