Fri. decision on 'shotgun stalker' release
The judge overseeing the request for a one-time 12-hour release from St. Elizabeths Hospital from the District's so-called "shotgun stalker" said Tuesday that he expects to issue a decision by Friday.
James E. Swann Jr., 46, was declared not guilty by reason of insanity for the 1993 shooting spree that left four people dead and five injured. He has requested a hearing so he can be allowed out of the District's psychiatric hospital to spend his Feb. 26 birthday with his father.
D. C. Superior Court Judge Fred B. Ugast listened to closing arguments from attorneys on both sides Tuesday after two days of testimony last week regarding the conditional release.
Swann's attorneys argued that their client no longer suffered from past delusional problems that included paranoid schizophrenia exacerbated by alcoholism.
Kimberly Clark of the District's Public Defender Service said Swann had improved largely due to medication and treatment and was no longer "a danger to himself or others."
Prosecutors and hospital officials argued it was too soon for Swann to be allowed off the hospital grounds unchaperoned by hospital staff and said Swann still showed signs of mental illness.
At the time of Swann's arrest following the shootings, Swann told a psychiatrist in a videotaped interview that he heard voices that commanded him to randomly shoot people in the Columbia Heights and Mount Pleasant neighborhoods to avenge the murder of Malcolm X.
Keith L. Alexander
| February 22, 2011; 3:20 PM ET
Categories: From the Courthouse, Homicide, Keith L. Alexander, The District, Updates
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