Published: Oct 30, 2012 01:28 PM
Modified: Oct 30, 2012 05:50 PM
HILLSBOROUGH - An Orange County judge recommitted Chapel Hill shooter Wendell Williamson to a Butner hospital for another year but granted him more lenient off-campus privileges.
Superior Court Judge Elaine Bushfan agreed with the recommendations from Williamsons doctor and social worker, but asked them to implement it slowly and with all due caution.
Williamson, who killed two people in a 1995 shooting rampage downtown, has been treated for paranoid schizophrenia since he was found not guilty by reason of insanity and committed. He and other patients were moved to Central Regional Hospital in Butner when the state closed Dorothea Dix Hospital in Raleigh this summer.
Dr. Reem Utterback, who has treated Williamson since June 2007, recommended that he remain hospitalized for at least another year. However, he is doing well and should be allowed up to 12 hours of unsupervised off-campus visits with his family each month, she said.
Williamson is in the hospitals minimum-security unit and worked his way up to 12 hours of staff-supervised visits with his family this year. He also participates in on- and off-campus outings with a staff member and nine other patients, as well as Alcoholic Anonymous meetings and his treatment team.
Assistant Attorney General Adam Shestak argued for the state that 12 hours of unsupervised visits was too much at once, based on Williamsons violent past.
The state feels the safety of the people of North Carolina is paramount, he said.
Utterback disagreed. Williamson acknowledges his mental illness and has actively participated in his treatment, which includes two anti-psychotic medications, an anti-depressant, high-blood pressure pills and Cogentin, which counteracts side effects of the anti-psychotic medicine, she said.
He has demonstrated ongoing psychiatric stability, Utterback said. At no point over the last year has he shown any behavioral problems.