Man Who Said He Slit Mom’s Throat Because Of Attic People To Have Sanity Checked

A Wyoming judge paused a Gillette man's attempted murder case Friday and ordered a sanity test, after the man reportedly told police he slit his mother’s throat when distant attic people threatened him.

Clair McFarland

June 03, 20244 min read

Campbell County Courthouse in Gillette, Wyoming.
Campbell County Courthouse in Gillette, Wyoming. (Cowboy State Daily Staff)

A judge on Friday paused the attempted murder prosecution of a 31-year-old Gillette man who reportedly told police he slit his mother’s throat after being taunted by distant attic people.

Scott Patenaude’s mother called 911 on May 25 as she lay bleeding in the Gillette home she shares with Patenaude, according to an evidentiary affidavit filed last week in Gillette Circuit Court.  

“My son just slit my throat from behind and I’m bleeding out,” the woman reportedly told the dispatcher, adding, “Tell my parents and my daughter that I love them.”

When police arrested and later interviewed Patenaude, he allegedly said people in the attic of a different home had been making an “intelligent tapping” that deprived him of sleep, and that he slit his mother’s throat to defend himself from the attic people.

Patenaude’s court-appointed attorney, Dallas Lamb, asked Circuit Court Judge Wendy Bartlett on Friday to pause Patenaude’s prosecution while evaluators sort out whether he’s mentally fit to handle court.

“In meeting in person with the defendant, he referenced a history of mental health issues and a previous prolonged stay in psychiatric care,” wrote Lamb in his Friday motion.

Bartlett granted Lamb’s motion, issuing an order for a mental health evaluation that same day. Her order says a court-appointed mental health evaluator shall assess Patenaude at the Campbell County Detention Center and issue a written report on his mental fitness within 60 days.

Not Yet

Wyoming defendants who believe that they weren’t mentally competent to rationalize their own wrongdoing during their alleged crimes can plead “not guilty by reason of mental illness.” Doing so triggers a different, unique mental health evaluation aimed at dissecting the defendant’s thinking during the crime.

Bartlett may be able to order such an evaluation in the future, but not until, and if, Patenaude is found competent to give a plea in court.

Folding Laundry

Patenaude was folding laundry in a trailer house on or near Hannum Road on May 25, he reportedly told Campbell County Sheriff’s Investigator Justin Cody one day after his arrest.

The affidavit says Patenaude told Cody that he has an infected tooth that keeps him up at night; loud trucks drive by on Hannum Road and there’s an “intelligent tapping” in the attic.

While he folded laundry, he and his 52-year-old mother got into an argument, Patenaude said.

She was standing between 10 and 15 feet away from him, the man recounted, adding that he stopped folding laundry, went into his room and retrieved his razor blade.

Patenaude walked up behind his mother and, with no warning, lifted her chin and slit her neck from left to right, he allegedly told Cody. In doing so he was “not doing as much damage” as he could have, the affidavit relates.

He reportedly said he chose to lift her chin because she was always keeping her chin down.

He then recalled going outside to smoke a cigarette and wait for deputies to arrive. The affidavit says deputies found him trying to leave through the back door when they arrived.

Not That Attic

Patenaude allegedly said he cut his mother’s throat because he was defending himself from the people in the attic: not the attic of the home in which he lived, but the attic of his grandfather’s house, which is another residence on the same property but not physically connected to the home in which Patenaude lived.

Deputies reported they didn't find anyone besides Patenaude and his mother in the home the pair shared.

Patenaude told Cody repeatedly that he felt he had to defend himself, but he “never explained a situation in which there was any danger of physical harm to him,” says the affidavit.

He also did not describe his mother threatening him in any way, the document says.

Calmer Now

The affidavit says Patenaude said he’s felt less stressed since arriving at the jail. He asked Cody when he’d be getting “paper,” meaning case information.

He’d be getting papers that day, Cody said.

“Cool,” Patenaude reportedly answered.

Clair McFarland can be reached at

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Clair McFarland

Crime and Courts Reporter