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Man gets probation in assault with rifle

WORCESTER -- A West Brookfield man convicted of assaulting his neighbor with a rifle while naked was sentenced to seven years probation.

Charles Lapen, 51, was sentenced Friday by Superior Court Judge John McCann, who rejected his insanity defense and found him guilty of charges including assault with intent to murder and indecent exposure.

Among the conditions of probation, McCann ordered a psychiatric evaluation for Lapen and required him to take all prescribed medications, the Telegram & Gazette of Worcester reported.

The assault occurred in July 2002, when Lapen's neighbor, Kimball Moore, was clearing brush and heard a gunshot. He turned to find Lapen behind his house holding a rifle, nude except for his shoes and eyeglasses.

Shortly afterward, police interviewed Lapen, who they said smelled of alcohol. He told them he fired into the ground, not at Moore. Lapen told police he was a "tree-hugger" and accused Moore of "stealing my trees and driving over my property with a tree-skidder."

At his trial, psychologists testifying for the defense said Lapen suffers from paranoid schizophrenia and said he didn't know right from wrong the day of the assault.

Lapen testified that as a child he was "indoctrinated" into "MK Ultra," a secret Central Intelligence Agency mind-control project. He also said he believed he'd been targeted by police.

Lapen suggested he suffered from heatstroke the day of the assault. He said he blacked out after immersing himself in a tub of water and had no memory of the incident.

"I would say I'm sane and sober now, but on July 11, 2002, I was off my rocker," he testified.

In an impact statement, Moore said Lapen "put fear in my life that was never there before." He also questioned what Lapen intended to do with a bullet that police said appeared to have jammed in the rifle.

Judge McCann said he understood Moore's concerns, but added he didn't believe a prison sentence was appropriate.

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