LITCHFIELD—Actor Elmore "Rip" Torn thought he was in his own house Friday night when he was found inside the Litchfield Bancorp in Salisbury with a loaded revolver, his lawyer said today.
"Obviously, he wasn't there intending to commit a crime," said his lawyer, A. Thomas Waterfall, during Torn's arraignment in Superior Court in Bantam.
Police went to the bank at 326 Main St. around 9:45 p.m. Friday after an alarm went off. Inside the back door, on the floor, a state trooper found a wool hat, a pair of brown boots and glass from a broken window.
Trooper James L. Parker then walked in and saw "a white male walking around in the lobby of the teller area," according the arrest report.
The man, who police identified as Torn, looked "unsteady on his feet" and his fly was down, the trooper wrote.
"Get down!" Parker yelled. Torn didn't listen, and the trooper had to force him to the floor, the report states.
While searching Torn, Parker noticed a few things: He seemed disoriented, he smelled of alcoholic beverages and he had a loaded, H&R model 929, 22-caliber revolver in his right, jacket pocket.
Torn then started questioning Parker and the troopers who backed him up at the scene, Parker wrote.
"Torn asked why we took him out of his house," the report states. "Torn repeatedly asked why we placed him in handcuffs and when we informed him that he was in a bank carrying a gun he would ask the same question again."
When Parker took Torn out of the bank, he had to hold him up so he wouldn't fall, he wrote. Later, at the police barracks, he was asked if he wanted to contact someone or an attorney, the report states, but Torn answered that he didn't have anyone to call.
His blood alcohol content was .203, more than twice the legal limit of .08.
Torn, who turns 79 Saturday, was charged with first-degree burglary, second-degree trespassing, third-degree criminal mischief, carrying a firearm while intoxicated and carrying a weapon without a permit. A state police supervisor set his bail at $100,000, cash, and he spent the weekend in a state police jail cell at the Troop B barracks in North Canaan.
Monday morning, he slowly walked in to face Judge John W. Pickard. His cowboy boots kept the leg shackles around his calves instead of his ankles. He was wearing black pants, a blue, plaid shirt and a Navy blue jacket.
Waterfall told the judge his client needs help with his alcohol abuse and that he can start treatment as soon as tomorrow morning in New York state.
Torn has finished the first stage of treatment stemming from another alcohol-related incident, a driving under the influence arrest, Waterfall said.
That arrest was on Dec. 14, 2008, Bail Commissioner Elizabeth Trainor said. He was granted admission into an alcohol education program on May 19, she said.
Torn has a history of mental health issues as well as "substance use," Trainor said. Waterfall said outside of court that he only knows of alcohol problems.
The judge scheduled Torn's next court date for Feb. 17 in the Part A courthouse in Litchfield, which handles serious cases. As a condition of his release, Torn must be evaluated for substance abuse, Pickard said.
The judge set Torn's bail at $100,000, and Torn posted it with help from a bail bondsman. He left the courthouse without comment.
Waterfall said outside of court that he doesn't know how long his client has struggled with alcohol problems. The Associated Press reported that Torn has twice been arrested on drunken driving charges in N.Y.
He told a throng of reporters a little about Torn's personality.
"He's a great man," he said. "He's a very nice person, a very friendly individual. And obviously this is a very serious event."