Jan 25, 2008

Suspect arrested in Shannon Harps Capitol Hill stabbing

From KING 5 TV:

  • Washington State Patrol crime lab that they found a DNA match to 48-year-old James Anthony Williams
  • Detectives believe Williams and Harps did not know each other.
  • Police say Williams was already in the King County Jail for a probation violation.
  • He was convicted and sentenced to 11 years in 1995 for first-degree assault. Williams had a brief conversation with a man at a bus stop in Seattle, then pulled out a gun and shot the man twice in the hand.
  • In 2007, Williams was arrested three times for violating his probation.
From a Slog posting comment:

He will not stand trial. He's already been declared mentally unfit to stand trial in lesser case, what makes you think he won't get off by reason of insanity for this?

From the Seattle Times:
  • long history of paranoid schizophrenia
  • Williams voluntarily provided a DNA sample that night
  • detectives went looking for him when that sample later matched DNA found at the crime scene.
  • he was already in jail on an unrelated probation-violation charge.
  • Williams was on medication and was receiving care at Sound Mental Health
  • In December, the home address listed for the suspect was on Summit Avenue (maybe not the "Summit Inn": see below)
  • Williams has a severe history of mental illness
  • has been involuntarily committed to psychiatric hospitals in Texas and Arkansas
  • He resisted medications after claiming he was turned into a monkey after receiving Haldol at a Texas hospital.
  • In 1989, he told a psychiatrist in Arkansas that, "God tells me to 'put people up' which means he wants me to shoot bad people."
The Seattle P-I has lots more about the suspect and knives. KOMO TV gave his address as the Curben Hotel on Summit. There have been concerns with the Curben Hotel in the past. Note that he'd moved there after the murder. See KOMO report: " Police arrested Williams at his room at the Curben Hotel on Summit Avenue in Capitol Hill, where he had reportedly been staying since Jan. 4". (Thanks, Seadevi, for pointing that out)

So, where does that leave us? DNA evidence pretty clearly implicates a very deranged man, who was probably both living and receiving treatment in an area of Capitol Hill which has been long known for its high concentration of social services. We are all aware of assorted deranged individuals in the area, whom we tend to assume are harmless.

We obviously need (but may never see) more details of his evaluation and treatment, and of the rationale for letting him live amongst us, rather than in a secure environment. And it would be good to know how many more people with similar diagnoses are living amongst us. Maybe the issue of the impacts of social services on our lives would be a topic for the January 31st Capitol Hill Community Council meeting.

One solution might be a truly secure long-term psychiatric hospital, similar to Broadmoor Hospital in England. (I don't know if Western State has such facilities: we seem to leave custody of dangerously insane people to the prison service, and hence they get released at the end of their sentence. Yes, I know this is a slippery slope).

Find out more: try this Google search, and this Capitol Hill Triangle post.

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1 comment:

Seadevi said...

From KOMO: Williams was residing at the Curben Hotel on Summit Avenue: