Local News

Wendell Williamson Moved to Dorothea Dix

Posted June 11, 2004

— December 14, 1998

Wendell Williamson has gotten national attention since he shot and killed two people in Chapel Hill three years ago. He confessed to the crime, but a jury found him not guilty by reason of insanity.

These days he's been in a mental hospital in Morganton. But a hearing Monday forced him to move to a more secure facility.

Williamson is on his way to Dorothea Dix Hospital. His victims' family members say he is potentially violent and is a man who does not understand the consequences of his violence. A psychiatrist at Broughton called him remarkable and honest.

In the end, the judge ruled that Williamson is a danger to society and is on his way to a more secure and more restrictive environment.

The last image many have of Williamson is his guitar strumming appearance on "60 Minutes" last month and his calm denial of moral responsibility for the January 1995 shooting spree that killed two people.

"I was physically responsible. I was the one who pulled the trigger. But as far as moral responsibility, I feel that I was doing the best I could with what I had to work with, and that's all anyone can expect," said Williamson.

Carol and Karl Reichardt's son, Kevin, was one of Williamson's victims. They are behind a petition drive, and ad campaign, that pushed for Williamson's move to the more secure facility at Dorothea Dix.

"He lost all of his privileges and rights at the time he pulled the trigger. He then becomes a murderer. If you are a murderer, then you need to be a position where you are controlled," said Karl Reichardt.

"Not only as a paranoid schizophrenic, but he has a personality disorder and an alcohol problem. This makes him more dangerous, even though he is not showing that right now. Of course, he has already shown to have been violent at one point," said Carol Reichardt.

The Broughton staff says Williamson is a model patient.

"Strong effort to increase his socialization and to be out and about out of his room and to be with his peers to interact and get more involved in activities," psychologist Dr. Harriet Lehman.

Williamson was caught drunk at the Broughton Hospital on Nov. 6. He had a blood-alcohol content of .11. In North Carolina, you are legally drunk behind the wheel at .08.

Williamson will be moved within the week. His case will be reviewed within the year.

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