Monday, May 21, 2007

And Why Was He Released?

Details about the shooter in Moscow, Idaho:
The gunman in a weekend shooting has been identified as Jason Hamilton, a man with a history of violence and arrests. Assistant Moscow Police Chief David Duke said that Hamilton's wife, Crystal Hamilton, also has been found dead in her Moscow home, killed with a single gunshot to the head.


Duke said Hamilton has a history of domestic violence and had been charged in 2005 with felony strangulation of a girlfriend. He pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor and was sent to jail for 180 days and then given probation.

After attempting suicide by overdose in February, Hamilton was placed in protective custody. He was given two psychiatric evaluations and then released.

"He stated that if he wanted to commit suicide he wouldn't do it this way," said Duke, adding that Hamilton threatened to take others with him. Despite those threats, Hamilton was not placed in custody.

Hamilton was arrested in April for a probation violation related to the 2005 misdemeanor conviction and appeared in court last Tuesday at which time he was ordered into counseling.
Suicide attempts. Violent misdemeanor convictions. Threats to kill others. Two psychiatric evaluations suggests to me that there was some uncertainty about his stability. Ordered to go into counseling. And why was he released?

In 1960, this guy would likely have been hospitalized after the suicide attempt and threats of violence against others, because of his previous history of violence.

UPDATE: Another news story gives a bit more detail about Hamilton's evaluation:
Duke said Hamilton had a history of violence and in February underwent a court-ordered mental evaluation at a Lewiston hospital for attempting suicide. During the evaluation, he told a psychiatrist that if he were to commit suicide, he would do so in a way that would kill a large number of people, Duke said.

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