An Omaha man was suffering a series of psychotic episodes when he groped and attempted to disrobe and sexually assault a few people last fall, experts say.
Two experts — a state doctor and a doctor hired by the defense — agree that Nicholas Saitta likely was suffering from temporary psychosis when he acted out. With no evidence to the contrary, Douglas County District Judge Michael Coffey is expected to find Saitta not guilty by reason of insanity.
Saitta’s bizarre behavior — in which he wanted to tie up his relatives for sex, muttered “let’s get it done,” and either groped or kissed a nurse, a patient, two inmates and a jail guard — was the result of bipolar disorder with psychotic features, according to Dr. Farid Karimi, a psychiatrist at the Lincoln Regional Center.
“At the time ... of the crimes, Mr. Saitta met the criteria necessary for the standard of insanity,” Karimi wrote. “It is clear that Mr. Saitta ... did not know the difference between right and wrong.”
Dr. Terry Davis, a defense psychiatrist, reached the same conclusion.
After the two sides held a brief trial Tuesday, Coffey took the matter under advisement. A finding of not guilty by reason of insanity would mean that Saitta, 26, would undergo treatment, rather than punishment for his crimes.
The bizarre behavior occurred in a flurry last August and October.
In August, Saitta hid in the women’s restroom of the Champions Club golf course — where he used to work — because, he later told police, “I am trying to meet women.” After he was kicked out of the clubhouse, he ran back in and tried to “grab and kiss a female employee.”
About three days later, he broke into the bedroom of a male relative, wearing garden gloves and carrying zip ties, an extension cord and a metal bar. Saying it was time to bond, he pounced on the relative’s wife, trying to pull her pants down. She scrambled outside and called 911, then heard yelling and found Saitta sexually assaulting the male relative.
The couple asked police to place Saitta in emergency protective custody, rather than jail. While at Immanuel Medical Center, Saitta attacked a nurse, grabbing her and trying to pull her pants down. Two Omaha police officers tackled him and took him to jail.
On Oct. 10, a relative bailed Saitta out — and he was taken to Lasting Hope Recovery Center for his mental illness. There, he attacked a patient, attempting to pull her pants down while she was in bed. Taken back to jail, he rushed another woman in the jail’s holding area, groping her breasts and trying to remove her shirt. That was followed by attempts to kiss other inmates or guards.
“In spite of knowing that he was in a jail setting ... he had such an impulsivity that he could not control himself,” Karimi wrote.
After a finding of not guilty by reason of insanity, a judge can commit a defendant to the Regional Center or to various treatment plans.
Saitta’s attorney, William Zastera, urged the judge to allow him to continue with his outpatient therapy. Saitta, a former Eagle Scout and 2010 Central High School graduate, is doing much better now, Zastera said. He is regularly taking his medications and attending therapy, Zastera said.
Coffey ordered Saitta to remain on a GPS-tracking device so authorities know his whereabouts.