A West Richland man accused of killing his grandmother has a history of drug use and mental illness that led to a five-year commitment in a state psychiatric hospital.
During his time at Eastern State Hospital, Adam Ryan Williams refused to eat, reported voices were telling him to "kill myself" and said God had promised him a special place in heaven, court documents show.
Williams, 28, was said to present a "substantial danger to others" and had a substantial likelihood of "committing criminal acts jeopardizing public safety and security if released."
Those details were included in a progress report written July 23, 2009, and sent to Franklin County Superior Court, where Williams had been acquitted by reason of insanity on a third-degree assault charge.
Williams, who is now facing a first-degree murder charge in Benton County Superior Court for killing his grandmother, was accused in March 2006 with assaulting a corrections officer in the Franklin County jail.
Details of the 2006 assault were not immediately available Monday, and it was not clear why Williams was in jail several years ago.
Court documents show Williams was found competent to stand trial in May 2006, but a month later, Williams was determined to have been legally insane at the time of the offense.
Williams was found to suffer from a mental disease to such an extent that he didn't have the capacity to perceive the nature and quality of the acts he was charged with and was unable to tell right from wrong at the time of the assault.
"It's quite unusual to have not guilty by reason of insanity," Franklin County Prosecutor Shawn Sant told the Herald.
Sant said defendants are sent to Eastern State Hospital to have competency restored, but then they typically are sent back to stand trial.
Williams was sent to Eastern State Hospital, where he actively starved himself in an attempt to kill himself, documents showed.
In October 2007, a psychiatrist asked the court for authorization to involuntarily treat Williams with antipsychotic medication and intravenous nutrition.
Dr. Sami Pateras said Williams believed that he had nothing left to live for and that he had fried his brains on drugs, documents stated.
Williams has a history of using methamphetamine, psilocybin and inhalants and was diagnosed as having chronic paranoid schizophrenia and major depression with suicidal thoughts.
Pateras said Williams talked with God and demons and said in his conversations with God that God said it would be OK if he starved himself to death, documents stated.
Williams also twice stopped his medications while at the hospital, Pateras said.
There was no activity on Williams' case until July 2009, when he sent a letter to the court asking for a new defense attorney and a court date for a review to see if he could be released.
Defense attorney Sam Swanberg was his public defender in 2006, but he was no longer on the public defense panel in 2009.
In August 2009, the progress report covering Williams' behavior at Eastern State Hospital from December 2008 to June 2009 was filed with the court.
The report stated Williams had been following the rules, no longer was trying to starve himself and had maintained a rating that allowed him to occasionally go out in the community with a staff escort.
He was actively involved in his treatment program and participated in the Ward Store Group, where he stocked items, smashed cans and sold products to his peers, documents stated.
Williams was said to still be grieving the loss of his mother, who died Nov. 7, 2008, and he continued to report hearing voices.
The treatment team said Williams posed a danger to others because of his "active mental illness, past assaultive behavior, his crime and his inconsistency in expressing symptoms of his mental illness," documents said.
State law requires an exam at least every six months for people who are committed to a state mental hospital after being found criminally insane.
A written notice is supposed to be provided to the court once the report is completed, but nothing else was filed in Williams' case from Eastern State, according to the case file.
The maximum time under state law that Williams could be held on the third-degree assault charge is five years, and he served that time at Eastern State.
Court records show Williams was released from the state hospital May 17, 2011.
Patients typically are evaluated before their release and if they are still found to be a danger to the community, a mental health counselor could request a civil commitment, said John Wiley, a spokesman with the state Department of Health and Social Services in Spokane.
No record of a civil commitment request for Williams could be found by the Herald, and there was no final progress report filed in Franklin County Superior Court.
Wiley couldn't say whether a civil commitment was requested for Williams.
"We can't even say if somebody is at our hospital or was at our hospital," he said. "Under HIPAA laws, that would be releasing information on a course of treatment."
Wiley did, however, explain that all admissions or releases at the state mental hospital -- through a criminal case or civil commitment -- must be authorized by a judge or court commissioner.
"Everything we do is done by a court order," he said.
-- Paula Horton: 582-1556; firstname.lastname@example.org