Saturday, October 23, 2004
Many of the Dix Hospital residents are employed in off-campus jobs in preparation for their return to society. A usually reliable source has related that the hospital staff has met with resistance from off-campus employers when they were told of Michael Hayes’ “sanitized” history.
On 17 July 1988, Michael Hayes assaulted 24 people with a firearm, 9 were wounded, 4 fatally. At trial, Michael Hayes was advantaged by the jury’s anti-death penalty mind-set well before the issue became a popular cause celebre. To avoid a decision on the death penalty the jury opted for the verdict Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity and he was committed to Dorothea Dix Hospital.
The Dix psychiatric staff has been endeavoring to advance “forensic” unit residents, principally Michael Hayes and Wendell Williamson, through a hospital designed program which will lead to their eventual release. Williamson’s advance was somewhat compromised by his recent conjugal absence. The hospital’s psychiatric spokesman hopes to have Hayes employed off-campus for one, two or three months, so that he can testify to a Superior Court Judge that Hayes has been mingling with society for that period of time and has not killed anyone and that is proof that it is safe to release him
The Dix staff has historically resisted housing insanity acquitees in a restricted forensic environment, complaining that “it was too much like a prison”. Preferring instead to house the sociopaths in wards with more benign residents.
From his commitment in 1988 to November 1991, Michel Hayes enjoyed a more beneficial lifestyle than he had ever known. Endowed with a Social Security Disability allowance – since discontinued - and a salary from his job in the hospital canteen Hayes lived the life of the fabled Riley. Weekly off-campus technician escorted shopping trips and meals in Cameron Village financed by his constantly overdrawn account at the bank there. On the Saturday of Armistice Day weekend, with his hospital-married second wife providing transportation, Hayes absented himself from the Dix campus for the entire day. Some low level employee alerted the Raleigh police, resulting in a statewide brouhaha. The adverse publicity prompted the AG’s office to caution the Mental Health administration about the potential liability to which the State was being exposed. The then Secretary of Human Resources issued a memorandum ordering that, henceforth, forensic residents would be allowed off-campus only by the explicit order of a Superior Court Judge.
The hospital’s catering to Hayes allowed him to sire two illegitimate children on the hospital grounds. This impropriety was revealed to the Court at his annual rehearing by other sources while the Dix staff was representing him to be a model citizen. Periodically during Hayes’ tenure at Dix outside evaluators have determined, mainly through the Minnesota Mutifacic Personality Inventory test, that he is mentally ill, according to the North Carolina statute, and subsequently dangerous.
More information about this case can be found at:
Brinkhous-Bullit houses the NC Office of the Chief Medical Examiner
Some things are inevitable or unpreventable, like death and taxes. Everyone dies, that’s a fact of life. Conception requires death some day. We live, if we are blessed we love and are loved, and then one day we die. For some death can be a blessing, a release from pain and suffering or life of hard work maybe loneliness. A cemetery I know of comes to mind, one with a sign over an entrance that says something like “That which is so universal, must also be a blessing”. It’s meant to bring comfort for all must go through those gates one day.
Many depart this life long before their time, at the hands of a predator. 1 Friends and family, or those who are left behind, grieve for and honor their dead. Many murders are motivated by greed and selfishness. Some acts or bad actors are motivated by evil in its purest form. The motives for murder are as individual as the assassin. Some seek money, others do what they do because they feel betrayed, and some are clearly delusional or deranged. The impacts on society are unique in every case in that each victim represents a different loss to every family and friend left behind. Each victim leaves their own mark on our world while they are here, and their memory leaves a unique impression or sense of loss.
Once a murder is committed, many things become necessary and are irreversible. A body usually becomes instant evidence. Records, samplings, transcripts and pictures are presented in courts and to strangers. An autopsy reveals a cause, and a manner of death. The event is recorded for posterity in the papers and a certificate is issued. The public is informed and debts are eventually settled, most of the time anyway. Some evidence is kept forever. What represents a lifetime of accomplishments is reduced to boxes, stories and records. Each murder results in a unique decision calculus and a set of dispositions or artifacts.
For a number of persons, it’s “a job”. A mini-industry thrives on tragedy. For some the victim and the accused represent a story to tell or a picture to take. The undertaker and Medical Examiner usually see each and every victim (and many murderers) eventually. The lawyers fight over right and wrong, what might be “fair” and who gets what for those that are left behind, that is if they aren’t already dead. The first group of buzzards circles the living and the lifeless. The “search for truth” or “sifting of lies” has become both a science, and an art form of sorts. The murder, murderer or the victim are transformed into some sick or twisted “entertainment” for a day… or two. Events are reduced to temporary diversions from what seems “normal”. Everything becomes more detached and a little less human for as long as it’s not one of yours or in your back yard. The illusion of safety exists for those who think they can keep the rest of the world at arms length (or further) away.
“The story” isn’t over until the predator is laid to rest after getting the last word. The families leave the buzzards to do their “work”. 2 Some confuse the murderer with being a victim and forget the circumstances, which require a punishment. When does accountability start, when should it end? 3 What does one do to prevent a proven predator from harming other innocents? 4 What makes the lawyers and media any different than buzzards? They always seem to be there to pick through the “bones” or engage in some form of self-promotion.
- Bureau of Justice Statistics, Homicide trends in the U.S. (1992), http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/homicide/tables/totalstab.htm
- Charlotte Observer, NC Executes a man who kills 6, (10/22/04), http://www.charlotte.com/mld/charlotte/news/breaking_news/9986483.htm
- North Carolina Department of Corrections, Inmate Infraction Detail, http://webapps6.doc.state.nc.us/apps/offender/raw1?DOCNUM=0345539&INMV9CF1=on&SEARCH=Search
- North Carolina Department of Corrections, Inmate Summary, http://webapps6.doc.state.nc.us/apps/offender/offend1?DOCNUM=0345539&SENTENCEINFO=yes&SHOWPHOTO=yes&numtimesin=2