Wisconsin judge approves release of killer found insane in 1985 murder of priest, 2 others

"Wisconsin judge approves release of killer found insane in 1985 murder of priest, 2 others

Associated Press
Last update: March 31, 2009 - 1:24 PM

LA CROSSE, Wis. - A Wisconsin judge has approved the release of a man who was found insane when he killed a Catholic priest and two others in a church nearly 30 years ago.

Bryan Stanley had claimed to be a prophet sent to cleanse St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Onalaska when he gunned down the victims in 1985.

His release was approved Tuesday by La Crosse County Judge Ramona Gonzalez. His decision followed a November ruling by a state appeals court that determined prosecutors failed to prove that releasing Stanley from a mental hospital would present a danger to himself or the public.

Stanley was found not guilty by reason of mental disease and was committed indefinitely to a state psychiatric hospital.

Conditions of Stanley’s release are confidential."

Source: startribune.com/nation/42202202.html?elr=KArks:DCiUMEaPc:UiD3aPc:_Yyc:aUU

"Lifetime of supervision for Bryan Stanley
By Richard Mial / rmial@lacrossetribune.com.
Several weeks before Bryan Stanley walked into an Onalaska church and shot three people, we started getting letter to the editor submissions from him.

The letters made little sense, and in them he said he believed that he was the prophet Elijah. It’s hard to tell when a letter is just too weird to print or whether it’s a sign that there are dangerous things going on in the writer’s head.

Stanley was found not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect and was sent to a state mental institution, where he still lives today, in a far less restrictive setting than when he was first sent there.

During his time there, he has written a book and has been allowed to leave the facility for work and family visits, all without incident.

That background was part of the reason the District 4 Court of Appeals ruled Thursday that Stanley should be released.

But what kind of supervision will there be? Stanley functions well on medication, but what if he decides not to take it?

This case was a tragedy for all sides � for the families of the victims as well as for Stanley’s family.

After the murders and court proceedings, the Stanley family became outspoken about the need for more tools to deal with the mentally ill. Stanley family members argued that there needed to be another standard for involuntary treatment if it can be shown that people are a danger to themselves or others and that they are unable to make decisions about their own condition and treatment.

The Legislature finally passed that standard in 1996, giving families and health care officials another tool in dealing with mental illness.

I’m convinced that Stanley really didn’t comprehend his crime in 1985, and that the sentence of not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect was appropriate.

But the issue is safety for the public and stability for Stanley. Given those concerns, he should remain under some form of supervision for the rest of his life � to assure that he remains on the medication that keeps him able to function as well as he has been.

That’s the least that we can do for the families of the victims � and for Stanley himself."

Source: lacrossetribune.com/articles/2008/11/17/opinion/editorial/00mial1116.txt

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Doesn’t John Hinkley get weekend furloughs? Some folks do not understand the law as to the insanity defense, just like the laws as to self-defense.

Well, I wont be attending Church there.

I’m certain you know the law much better than I do, but that is not the issue to me. To me, when someone murders due to delusions, that person is too dangerous to be allowed complete freedom ever again. They should be detained and medicated for the rest of their lives. At the very least, they should have rigid supervision. Some may argue that mental illness is a treatable illness and individuals who suffer from it have a right to freedom when medicated, but when someone takes a life, I think they forfeit those rights. We, the public, have the right to be safe from their illness and the only way to insure that is to detain them or closely supervise them and force medication.

Well, I hope the Wisconsin judge will now allow this convicted killer to live next door to his family.

Don’t go to a Baptist church Atlanta then, An insane man shot MLK’s mom in church, remember?

That’s why insane people are detained for as long as they are dangerous. You can get out of jail for assault in five years. But if you did it because you are insane, it may be a life sentence – that is the other side of the equation.

The problem is that psychiatry is not an exact science.

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