An Ohio man who reportedly believed Wheel of Fortune host Pat Sajak instructed him to kill his elderly mother by beating her beyond recognition has been found not guilty by reason of insanity. A judge made the ruling late this week in the murder case against 48-year old Derrick Williams. His defense attorney told the court that his client and the victim were arguing about the microwave when he grabbed the lead pipe and began beating her. According to reports, Williams thought he saw the head of a neighbor's dog on his mother's body.
Defense attorney Brian Pierce says that Derrick Williams believed he was getting messages from Wheel of Fortune when he heard his hometown of Akron, Ohio mentioned. He thought Pat Sajak was telling him to kill his mother when the veteran host said, "Do it." According to Pierce, Williams was off of his medication at the time of the incident and was "clearly psychotic," to which the judge agreed. Derrick Williams has been struggling with mental illness, paranoid thoughts and depression for the past two decades according to his sister.
Derrick Williams' sister called 911 after discovering her mother's body in December of 2016 and told dispatchers her brother was mentally ill and likely responsible. William's sister said the face had been bashed in so brutally that she was not able to make out her mother's features. Derrick Williams was charged with murder and felony assault, and his trial was scheduled to get under way after three separate mental health evaluations had found him competent, but determined that he was mentally ill at the time of his mother's murder.
This isn't the first time that Derrick Williams has attacked his mother. In 2005, Williams was charged with domestic violence and felony assault, but was cleared by reason of insanity and committed to an institution for a few years. He remained under supervision until 2014 and wrote his mother letters throughout his time under supervision. After which time he moved back in with her in Ohio. A finding of not guilty by reason of insanity isn't a routine occurrence in the United States. Studies have found that the insanity defense is used in less than 1% of felony cases nationally.
Derrick Williams will be back in court on January 18th for sentencing, which will probably see him going back to a medical facility where he can be closely monitored. The teenage girls responsible for the Slender Man attack have also recently been sentenced to years in a psychiatric hospital after claiming that they had to murder their friend to gain the trust of the fictional Slender Man so that they could be his loyal servants. In addition, they carried out the attack to save the lives of their families. You can read more about Derrick Williams' case via Time Magazine.