Facebook page in name of man in custody for murder sparks probe

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The discovery of a Facebook page in the name of a man being held for murder prompted an internal investigation at the Eleanor Slater Hospital and led to the removal of the social media post, the Target 12 Investigators have learned.

Matthew Komrowski is being held in state custody on charges he beat his girlfriend Shirley Donnelly to death in June 2011. Police say he then set her Cranston apartment on fire in an effort to cover up the crime.

According to an advocate for the victim’s family, one of Donnelly’s sons discovered the Facebook page when searching Komrwoski’s name earlier this month. The posting showed a photo of Komrowski smiling and looking through what appears to be a protective window.

One of the posts stated “I’m bored … who wants to talk.”

A later entry included a phone number with the message “scoundrel get lonely too.”

Komrowksi is in the custody of the Department of Behavioral Healthcare Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals (BHDDH) at a high security unit at the Eleanor Slate Hospital. He was transferred from the prison after a judge in July deemed he was incompetent to stand trial. His case returns to court in March.

“If BHDDH is able to restore competency, the matter can proceed to trial,” Amy Kempe, a spokesperson for the Attorney General’s office said in an email.

In a statement BHDDH Director Maria Montanaro declined to identify Komrowski by name citing federal healthcare privacy laws, but said the WPRI 12 inquiry about the Facebook page launched an internal investigation.

“Hospital staff concluded their investigation and determined the picture was taken by a relative during a December ‘non-contact’ visit,” Montanaro said in the statement. “After leaving the hospital, the relative created and posted the Facebook page.”

Montanaro said the Facebook page was taken down “immediately” at BHDDH’s request.

Carolyn Medeiros, the Executive Director of victim advocacy group Alliance for Safe Communities said the family was “devastated” when they discovered the page.

“They are very hurt,” Medeiros said. “They feel he is a monster and they felt this was violating. They have gone through so much.”

Komrowski’s case generated outrage several years ago when it was revealed Komrowski had been released early from prison after earning more than 480 days of good time credit at the Adult Correctional Institution. He was released just 24 hours before Donnelly’s murder, according to investigators.

Prior to the Facebook page’s removal, it had generated two-dozen friends.

“Were any of these posts communicated to him?” Medeiros said. “I would be very concerned that someone called that number and where that number leads to.”

David Layman, a spokesperson for BHDDH, said the phone number posted on the Facebook page goes back to one of two private phone lines that patients can use.

“Both are in the hallway of the unit, one is across from the nurses’ station,” Layman said in an email. “Since it is illegal for calls to be monitored, there is no way to know if he received calls as a result of the Facebook solicitation.”

Layman added it is against policy for patients to access the internet or cell phones. It was also a violation of hospital policy to take a photo of Komrowski, which state officials say was taken in the visitors’ area.

“As a result of the investigation, the patient’s visitation privileges have been temporarily suspended; he remains on one-to-one supervision in the hospital; and his visitors will be carefully supervised and reminded of the photographic policies,” Montanaro said.

Tim White ( twhite@wpri.com ) is the Target 12 investigative reporter for WPRI 12 and Fox Providence. Follow him on Twitter: @TimWhiteRI

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