Local News

Preacher: Maxwell was mentally ill

Posted November 6, 2009

— Family and friends of a slain Fayetteville family shared memories Friday at Snyder Memorial Baptist Church.

Police said William "Billy" Maxwell Jr., 47, shot and killed his wife Kathryn, daughter Connor and son Cameron before turning the gun on himself Monday evening.

Rev. John Cook attempted to explain to mourners how the tragedy came to pass.

"We have concluded that Billy was suffering from some sort of mental illness," he said.

Billy Maxwell had recently admitted to thinking irrational thoughts, Cook said, and knew "some of his thoughts might not make sense."

Cook said he talked to the family Monday afternoon, and Billy Maxwell agreed to get help.

"We had every indication there would be a Tuesday," he said.

The family was well known at the church, where, friends said, the siblings were involved in the youth ministry and the youth choir, and their father was a deacon.

Maxwell family funeral Faith community mourns Fayetteville family

Individual mourners shared their memories of the Maxwells.

“We shared many hours on the basketball court that we talked trash about and laughed about and reminisced about," friend George Rose said of Billy Maxwell.

“The lady could iron like nobody's business,” a friend said of Kathryn Maxwell.

"She loved grits, broccoli and cheddar soup and her grandmother's cooking,” a friend said of 17-year-old Connor.

“He was a coach's dream,” a basketball teammate said of Cameron, 15.

Cook encouraged mourners to remember Billy Maxwell as a good Christian man who treasured his family.

“All of us – including those closest to Billy – didn't know how sick he was," he said.


This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • angimomma Nov 6, 2009

    Since when is a reverend qualified to diagnose a mental illness? And furthermore, yes what is said in counselling is supposed to remain confidential UNLESS you present as a harm to yourself or others, at which point if this reverend had knowledge that a "tuesday would happen", why did he not contact the police who could declare Mr Maxwell 5150(as a danger to himself or others at which point he could be held in a pyschiatric unit legally for 71 hours)?

  • Mom of two Nov 6, 2009

    I think it is real funny how one can judge. I did not know this family, but I know people that did. This is a terrible thing that happened. The Lord did not do this to the family. My prayers are with all that are effected by this.

  • Adelinthe Nov 6, 2009

    wildcat - "The preacher should have reported this man's mental illness to the authorities."

    The authorities can't do anything until a law is broken, but I would certainly have informed his wife - even though things said in counseling are to be held in confidence, if someone's life is in danger, others must know.

    God bless.


  • Adelinthe Nov 6, 2009

    jbco - " Instead, I am sure he was told that prayer would fix it or God would keep him safe and show him the way."

    You assume too much.

    No properly trained responsible minister would ever tell someone at risk that.

    They would instead counsel them to regarding the available avenues of medical treatment.

    God bless.


  • Adelinthe Nov 6, 2009

    Joe Blow - "Well, look what the "lord" did. Naive."

    The Lord will never rob someone of free will, like some earthbound leaders will.

    God bless.


  • Adelinthe Nov 6, 2009

    "We have concluded that Billy was suffering from some sort of mental illness," he said."

    Is he a doctor of some kind???

    "Billy Maxwell had recently admitted to thinking irrational thoughts, Cook said, and knew "some of his thoughts might not make sense."

    And the ones who knew this didn't get him immediate help???

    Boggles the mind how some knew there was a risk and did little to nothing.

    But then, sometimes the extent of a psychological problem isn't obvious and can't be imagined.

    Praying for all who loved them.

    Praying for his children who never got a chance.

    God bless.


  • G whiz Nov 6, 2009

    Jeremiah: I don't want to start a religious argument here, but the only "religion" I ever heard of with that belief was Catholic...my Holy Bible teaches the only sin to keep anyone out of heaven is non-belief......anything else can be forgiven...

  • iamyeary Nov 6, 2009

    Why did he feel that he needed to buy a gun last year? If he was mentally ill and they knew he had a gun in the house, they should have taken it away from him. Shoulda coulda woulda, so sad.

  • What if_I could Nov 6, 2009

    I have to wonder why the preacher has share so much information to the media? This is a sad situation. I am assuming this preacher has heard of HIPAA and confidentiality? I am praying for this preacher. I don't know the circumstances but it seems some system Mr. Maxwell trusted, did not honor his trust.

  • aoakley336 Nov 6, 2009

    Jeremiah, you are not in any situation to judge anyone unless you consider yourself some kind of prophet. I love how people on here think they know everything & are quick to put blame on people. Hindsight is always 20/20. You can say you would've done things differently now because you know the outcome, however you can't say what you wouldn't done in this situation beforehand & you don't have anywhere near enough details to make any assumptions about anyone. My prayers are with the family & friends of this family. What a horrible tragedy.