No release for Shotgun Stalker
A D.C. Superior Court judge today denied the request for a one-time, 12-hour release from St. Elizabeths Hospital for James E. Swann Jr, the New Jersey man dubbed "The Shotgun Stalker' after shooting nine people in the District in 1993, four of them fatally.
In his 10-page decision, Judge Fred B. Ugast recounted testimony from two psychiatrists who said Swann, 46, still suffered from schizophrenia and narcissistic personality disorder.
"If Mr. Swann were released, he would be a danger to himself or others" because of his mental illness, Ugast wrote.
Swann requested the one-time conditional release from the District's psychiatric hospital so he could spend his birthday on Saturday with his father.
Swann has been a patient at St. Elizabeths since 1994, when he was declared not guilty by reason of insanity in the shootings after psychiatrists said he was driven by disembodied voices that only he could hear.
Swann's attorneys argued their client no longer suffered from delusional, paranoid schizophrenia. They said his medication and treatment had resulted in significant improvement.
But after a two-day hearing this week, Ugast was unmoved.
"There are no conditions that would be set that would eliminate the risk of harm to Mr. Swann or others if he were released at this time," he wrote.
Keith L. Alexander
| February 25, 2011; 11:30 AM ET
Categories: From the Courthouse, Homicide, Keith L. Alexander, The District
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