What does it take to get a crazy mofo locked up around here?

Apparently, a lot more than this:

The day James Anthony Williams allegedly stabbed to death a stranger on Capitol Hill, the homeless, mentally ill ex-convict showed up at his probation officer’s office agitated, defensive and, the officer wrote, “barely able to hold himself together.”


Department of Corrections (DOC) records released Friday show that Williams, diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, spiraled into a pit of anger and delusion late last year. He skipped required mental-health appointments and was evicted for threatening his landlord.


An opportunity to intervene with Williams emerged last summer, after he was charged in Seattle Municipal Court with threatening to “shoot all the caseworkers” at Sound Mental Health and to “lay in wait” to shoot his DOC officer. He spent three months at Western State Hospital for an assessment of whether he was competent to stand trial for misdemeanor harassment charges.

His menacing behavior continued while at Western State. A social worker complained to DOC about Williams’ “intimidating and menacing behavior” toward staff, and about Williams’ claims of having “two personalities and one of them can lead to killing people and maybe he should go to jail,” according to the DOC records released Friday.

He’s a violent, mentally ill man with open disdain for his caretakers, but all of this isn’t enough to get somebody put away so they don’t hurt somebody.

What is this guy, a Husky football player?


  1. 1

    SeattleR spews:

    The state DOC needs to completely overhaul community corrections. What has Gregoire done to improve this? We had that incident where 48 inmates were freed last year due to jail space, and we’ve had at least two police officers killed in the past three years from ex-cons still under community supervision. Gregoire has tried to claim ignorance on this in the past, but there’s no getting past this one.

    Let me be clear, I’m not blaming the Governor for this horrific death, but I do blame her for doing virtually nothing to improve the Department of Corrections. What significant changes and improvements have occurred under her watch? I could easily point to a lot more tragedies…

  2. 2

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @1 Tim Eyman wants to increasing transportation spending by $130 million a year without raising taxes by raiding the General Fund. How many criminally insane people will we have to release from Western State and Eastern State to pay for Timmy’s “congestion relief” scheme?

    Dino Rossi promises tax cuts but doesn’t tell us where they’ll come from. All we know is the one time he helped write a state budget he kicked 40,000 poor kids off health care. Will he release inmates from Walla Walla? Will he close Western State? What state services will he cut? He doesn’t say. He wants to keep you guessing.

  3. 3

    CandrewB spews:

    Actually I do blame Gregoire on this one, as well as every DSHS nightmare that will continue to come to light. The problem is no one is ever really held accountable. Unfortunately and apparently, my only options later this year are to either not vote or to vote for some boob who says he believes the Earth is only 6000-7000 years old.

  4. 5


    As a liberal, it’s hard for me to say this, but I honestly blame the liberal mindset that says that mentally ill are not responsible for their actions, therefor we cannot punish them as harshly as non-mentally ill people.

  5. 6

    michael spews:

    “As a liberal, it’s hard for me to say this, but I honestly blame the liberal mindset that says that mentally ill are not responsible for their actions, therefor we cannot punish them as harshly as non-mentally ill people.”

    I wasn’t aware that that mindset existed as a liberal-mindset. I’m a liberal, but I don’t think people that cause harm to other people should be part of our community. I’d say that the difference in mindset between liberals and conservatives is that liberals think the mentally ill who commit crimes need helped where the conservatives don’t think the mentally ill can be helped or think it’s too expensive to help them.

  6. 7


    Where you are more concerned with helping violent mentally ill people, I am more concerned with helping their future victims stay safe from them. Let me bottom line it for you. If that piece of garbage had been locked up for life the first time he shot someone, Shannon Harps would be alive today.

  7. 8

    michael spews:


    Didn’t say he shouldn’t have been locked up and I did say, “I don’t think people that cause harm to other people should be part of our community.”

    You’re making stuff up.

  8. 9

    michael spews:


    Btw, you can decrease the number of people who get stabbed by crazy mofo’s, by having better access to health care including mental health care there by reducing the number of crazy mofo’s in the population.

  9. 10

    zip spews:

    A number of commenters try to distinguish between liberal and conservative approaches to protecting the public from misfits like Williams. It’s not a left vs right issue: it’s a competency of government issue. The democrats running this state have not done squat to protect the citizenry in this Williams case, despite years of being in charge of EVERYTHING. They’ve had other priorities.

    Better access to health care is a good one, michael: that should keep deranged killers off the street. Meanwhile, Roger blames the predicted future flood of murderous psychopaths on Tim Eyman??? You guys are nuts.

  10. 12


    Let me get this straight, mentally ill people who fantasize about stabbing women to death don’t need to be locked up, they just need “better access to mental health care?”

  11. 13

    busdrivermike spews:

    Husky football player joke on target. Husky football player joke make me laugh.

    As far as the social service argument goes, everyone can sleep well knowing that Frank Blethen and Bill Gates enjoy a much lower tax rate due to the gutting of the social safety net. This includes funding for the mentally ill. Being Republican means never saying you are wrong. So what else is new?

  12. 14

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @5 When did you become a liberal? 5 minutes ago? Do you have any fucking idea what a liberal is?

    Sheesh. Next thing you know Dick Cheney will be calling himself a liberal, too. Nobody wants to be known as a Republican these days, which isn’t surprising given the GOPers’ track record.

  13. 15

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @10 And what role do you think being opposed to all taxes, all the time, plays in this?

  14. 17

    zip spews:

    Roger 15: None. WA has had surplus lately and your Democrats did nothing to address this issue. Unfortunately for the victims, there are no corporate lobbyists or waelthy non-profits pushing for this mess to be fixed.

  15. 18

    BeerNotWar spews:

    Tim Eyman and the whole anti-tax, anti-goverment mentality from which he gains his life-force like some frat-boy-lamprey hybrid has as much to do with how things are run in this state as the Democrats do. The Dems haven’t been in control of the state legislature for that long, for one thing. And ever since Eyman came on the scene the state has had to pare programs left and right. Sorry, but more crazy people with knives out on the streets is just as likely the result of program cuts as it is to poor management.

  16. 19

    zip spews:

    BNW 18: You have been drinking some strong kool aid, pal. Look at State revenue for the last decade or so. Keeps going up, even faster than these guys can spend it as evidenced by our surplus.

    And how come this boils down to money and taxes? I’d say it boils down to legislative priority. The legislature and governor have other priorities, thats why they have done nothing.

  17. 20

    BeerNotWar spews:

    My post included the phrase “frat-boy-lamprey hybrid.” What did yours bring do the table? “Drinking some kool aid?” Cliche!! I win.

  18. 21


    James Williams, the man who murdered Shannon Harps, first tried to kill someone in 1995, when he shot a man he didn’t know in a Seattle bus shelter.
    Eyman’s first initiative was in 1997.

    In your face.

  19. 22

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @17 You’re full of shit. The surplus isn’t spending money. Our state’s dependence on sales taxes necessitates saving money during good times to make up revenue declines when the economy slows, as it is doing now. At least, that’s how you’re supposed to do it, although our last Republican governor didn’t, which resulted in disruptive program cuts had to be made. We don’t need any more of GOP/Spellman-style fiscal management. You’re also full of shit that opposing taxes doesn’t impact the prison/mental hospital budget, which is one of the 3 largest non-education expenses in the state budget. You’re also full of shit that there are no crime victim lobbies.

    What you’re trying to say is Republicans can cut taxes and keep dangerous people locked up at the same time.

    That’s bullshit.

  20. 23

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    17, 18 – The truth is mental health has been starved of funding in this state for years. We emptied our state mental hospitals onto the streets years ago and there’s next to nothing in support or supervision for the chronically mentally ill, many of whom end up in city and county jails. In fact, about half of the local jail population consists of people with mental problems.

    DOC is so short of prison beds they’ve had to rent space in county jails. We have the same dangerous prison overcrowding conditions other states have. And there aren’t enough CCOs (community corrections officers) either.

    And against this backdrop all we hear from Republicans is incessant whining for tax cuts that benefit only them. If we could somehow afford to cut taxes, why not give more property tax relief to senior citizens of modest means, and sales tax rebates to low income households? Why should those who are already making out like robbers under our regressive tax system get even more tax breaks at the expense of public safety or other vital services?

    And why on God’s green earth should someone like Tim Eyman come along with a new program costing $130 million a year and think he can pay for it by robbing other programs?

  21. 24

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    The sad fact is Republicans don’t have constructive solutions to our state’s needs. They’re no more than juvenile whiners.

  22. 25

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Washington voters aren’t as stupid as Republicans think. For 24 years, they’ve refused to elect any of the rejects the GOP insists on running for governor. The last capable Republican to run for governor in this state was Dan Evans.

  23. 27

    michael spews:

    @10, 12

    Better access to mental health services helps people from becoming psyo-killers in the first place. Which is a much better solution to the problem than locking them up after the fact and it’s cheaper too!

    If you go back to my original comment @6 you’ll see that I want people who are a danger to society locked up. Hell, I probably want them locked up more than you two as I’m willing to foot the tax bill to do it.

  24. 28

    skagit spews:

    #5 and #6 above (I stopped reading there): I’m a liberal and I’m not supporting leaving dangerous people on the street. People don’t seem to understand “liberalism” – it is different for all of us really. But, I’m generous when deserved; I believe in consequences – harsh ones – when deserved.

    Mental illness is not a reason to forgive everything. As one who is on the fence regarding capital punishment, if we’re not going to house the mentally ill humanely for life, then euthanasia is something I can easily consider.

    How’s that for liberal?

  25. 29

    skagit spews:

    #27 – better access to mental health care doesn’t often help people from becoming sick. Schizophrenia isn’t easily managed. If you’ve ever known a schizophrenic, you’d know that. They are impossible for even their own families to control.

    In this case, the system failed big time. The system is just people and if those people aren’t accountable, why have them?

  26. 30

    michael spews:

    “Mental illness is not a reason to forgive everything.”


    The only people saying that the left believes “dangerous people have a right to walk the streets” are members of the right who are deliberately lying about what those of us on the left believe.

  27. 31

    michael spews:


    I know all sorts of people with mental illnesses that are doing just fine thanks to proper treatment and support. This is an anonymous blog, you shouldn’t think you know things about the other people on it.

    “In this case, the system failed big time. The system is just people and if those people aren’t accountable, why have them?”

    Yes the system did fail big time and it is too bad that those people responsible for that failure will not be fired from their jobs. It is also too bad that those people who are trying to help people and are doing their jobs aren’t better funded and supported.

  28. 32


    It’s that sort of soft-hearted, let’s support him and try to heal him attitude that got Shannon killed. He should have been locked up for life. Shannon would still be alive.

  29. 33

    michael spews:


    Maybe, but don’t pin that on me. I’ve clearly stated that people who are a danger to the community need to be locked away somewhere.

  30. 34

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @19 Memo to Mr. Know-It-All: Mental health services are provided at the county level, and county budgets have been hard hit by Eyman’s initiatives. Guess you didn’t get the previous memo on this subject.

  31. 35

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @32 What “soft-hearted, let’s support him and try to heal him attitude” are you talking about? Did you find that on some other blog? I don’t see it here.

  32. 36

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @32 (continued) Or are you just making shit up as you go along, as wingnuts frequently do?

  33. 39

    Broadway Joe spews:

    Politicizing an issue like this ain’t helping, folks. If more spending is needed at all levels to solve the problem at hand, why the hell not?

  34. 40

    ArtFart spews:

    It plays to Rossi’s favor to have dangerous psychotics running around the streets. That way he and Lou Guzzo can gasbag about how “we need to clean things up”, and he and his buddies can make money building more gated communities out in the ‘burbs for those who can afford it to be “safe” in.

  35. 41

    THE Puddybud The Prognosticator... spews:

    Roger Rabbit says: “Or are you just making shit up as you go along, as wingnuts frequently do?”

    Like your rant on Haiti?

    Like your rant on Ohio?

    Like your rant on electronic voting machines?

    Like your rant on the liberal MSM?

    Like you used to think it took superior intellect and character to be a lawyer?

    Like your rant using Ted Bundy as the answer for all ills?

    Like your rant on “IF”?

    And that’s just a microcosm of you small liberal mind!

    You are the biggest BULLSHITTIUM placer on this board.

  36. 42

    Richard Pope spews:

    Dan Satterberg has a major share of the blame. The King County Prosecuting Attorney is the office responsible for prosecuting civil commitment cases in King County, and it looks like Satterberg failed to do anything whatsoever to seek this person’s civil commitment.

    Also, it looks like James Anthony Williams could have been charged with a felony when he threatened to shoot the caseworkers at Seattle Mental Health and lie in wait to shoot his corrections officer. Instead, Satterberg declined felony charges and left it with Seattle authorities to pursue that case as a misdemeanor.

    When someone is found incompetent or insane on a felony charge, they continue to be locked up, until they prove they are not a danger to society or themselves. But if someone is found incompetent or insane on a misdemeanor charge, they will be release, unless civil commitment is pursued and a high standard of proof is satisfied that they are dangerous.

  37. 43

    zip spews:

    Roger @ 34: You are masterful at dreaming up excuses for our governments failure to protect the citizens from dangerously mentally ill creeps. And you still haven’t come up with anything to refute my opinion that “The legislature and governor have other priorities, thats why they have done nothing.” It’s a lack of results that is obvious to everybody but you, old grouch.

    When you bring up taxes, Eyman, Republicans, “it’s funded at the County level” or “crime victim lobbies” you are just being a Democrat hack wind bag. Purposely no doubt. Ever heard the saying “Power corrupts”? Partisan gas bags like you using Eyman as an excuse for letting sick deranged killers wander around Seattle is a perfect example of that.

  38. 44

    Marvin Stamn spews:

    #22 Roger Rabbit says:

    @ The surplus isn’t spending money.

    Wouldn’t a surplus be proof of over taxation? Duh!