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Rig driver's killer sent to secure facility

The trucker who fatally beat and stabbed his co-worker in the cab of their tractor-trailer as they barreled down the Thruway last January was sentenced Tuesday to a secure facility after a judge ruled he has a dangerous mental disorder.

Two state-appointed doctors from the Rochester Psychiatric Center said their examination of Rudy A. Arnette revealed signs of paranoid schizophrenia and a depressive disorder.

State Supreme Court Justice Russell P. Buscaglia said he found Arnette to be dangerously mentally ill, based on the two doctors' reports.

In August, Buscaglia found Arnette not responsible by reason of mental disease or defect for the killing of fellow trucker Robert Hardy.

Trying to estimate how long he will be locked up in a facility would just be speculating, said homicide prosecutor Colleen Curtin Gable.

Since August, Arnette has undergone further psychiatric tests by the state to determine if he has a dangerous mental disorder, or if he is mentally ill but not dangerous. The results of the examinations were used by the court to decide the type of facility where Arnette will be sent.

As of Tuesday's ruling, Arnette will be locked up for six months.

If, six months from now, doctors recommend he remain in secure detention and the judge agrees, Arnette would come up for further review a year later. After that, his condition would be evaluated every two years.Doctors' reports on Arnette's condition in coming months or years will influence how long a judge will keep him in a secure facility.

Arnette did not speak during the 10-minute hearing.

John K. Jordan, Arnette's lawyer, briefed Arnette and Arnette's father before the hearing but did not call on Arnette to testify.

Arnette, 47, of West Carrollton City, Ohio, was charged with second-degree murder for beating and stabbing Hardy to death Jan. 26 as Hardy was driving their rig along the Thruway in Hamburg. During the attack, Hardy lost control of the truck and crashed into trees.

An autopsy on Hardy, 43, of Miamisburg, Ohio, determined he died from stab wounds and blunt trauma to the head.

e-mail: plakamp@buffnews.com

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