Illustration by Gable Mansfield

A Danger to Himself and Others

Lew Perryman, a sometimes violent manic-depressive, was sheltered by family wealth and protected by judges and cops. Last summer he went on a murderous rampage. Who should share the blame?

Sense of urgency filled the courtroom. Prosecutors, defense attorneys, psychiatrists were all called together in haste; Walter Lewis Perryman III had been raging maniacally in his single cell at the Lew Sterrett jail. His mental condition was deteriorating. Something had to be done.

In the weeks following his arrest, Perryman, 38, claimed the devil had slipped into his jail cell, encouraging him to take his own life. He spoke to people from other dimensions, dialing them on the jail phone. But when he began drinking his urine and eating his feces as part of what he called survival training, his psychotic break seemed complete. For too long, his mania had gone unchecked by the lithium he refused to take.

Perryman had been hospitalized 12 times before. Always, he had walked away. But this time the “neighborhood crazy,” perceived by many as a harmless eccentric from a powerful University Park family, had gone too far. This time, the charges couldn’t be swept away or laughed off as the oddities of some lovable looney. About a month earlier, on August 6, 1991, Lew Perryman had been arrested on charges of murdering Deanna Smith, a newspaper carrier; attempting the murder of James Savage, a police officer; and holding hostage District Judge John Marshall and his family.

But on this day, September 3, only Perryman’s mental condition concerned Judge John Creuzot when he hurriedly scheduled a competency hearing. Although Perryman was bound in leg irons and handcuffs as he entered the courtroom, nothing could subdue the searing intensity in his eyes. Refusing to sit down, he announced that one of his lawyers, Joe Ashmore, no longer worked for him because of a conflict of interest. “He’s guilty of stealing $25,000 from me!” yelled Perryman.

When Creuzot threatened to remove Ferryman forcibly from the courtroom, the wide-eyed Perryman sat down, bit his lip and pointed his finger, gunlike, at members of the jury. Some jurors, unnerved, found it difficult to listen to Bill Hill, Perryman’s other attorney, as he argued that his client was incompetent to stand trial.

“You’re the one that’s incompetent.” scoffed Perryman, crumpling a sheet of paper. “You’re not competent to represent me.”

Later in the trial, Dr. Michael Pittman, a forensic psychiatrist, would describe Perryman to the jury as a severe manic-depressive whose paranoid delusions made it impossible for him to understand the proceedings against him.

“I have been impeded from hiring my own doctor,” yelled Perryman, his gaunt face straining with anger.

“Take him out of here,” said the judge, his patience exhausted. Suddenly, three bailiffs converged on Perryman, dragging him from the courtroom kicking and shouting. “Give me my damn Bible! Will you give it to me, goddamnit?”

If his attorneys had wanted their client to appear crazy, Perryman couldn’t have obliged them more. The jury took 30 minutes to decide what was virtually uncontested by the state-that Lew Perryman was incompetent to stand trial. If, at some time in the “foreseeable future,” Perryman regained his competency, then he would be tried for the crimes he allegedly committed.

In the meantime, the truth about what happened August 6 would be left untold, the tragedy obscured by a verdict that protects the rights of the mentally ill but leaves nagging questions unanswered. Questions about whether the paternalistic attitude of the University Park police toward their resident crazy jeopardized the life of Deanna Smith. Questions about Judge Marshall’s unusual friendship with Perryman and how it might have contributed to the judge’s own kidnapping. Questions about how the rich are treated when mentally ill; about how strings are pulled, wheels are greased and attention is paid in full. How money can’t buy peace of mind, though it can help destroy it.

For many who live in the Park Cities, the community is a pocket of peace and quiet, a respite from the chaos of the inner city, a protective shield of power and money used to stave off urban decay. For Lew Perryman, the Park Cities meant so much more. Much like the family of an alcoholic, it was a community that enabled him to stay crazy.

Walter Lewis Perryman III was born with every advantage. He had oil gushing from both sides of his family. His father, Walter Lewis Ferryman Jr., was the nephew of philanthropist Algur Meadows, the president of General American Oil. His mother, Betty Lu Slaughter, came from a wealthy North Texas ranching family.

Only the wealthy can afford to remain manic-depressive for very long.

Lew did all the things his Park Cities peers did- water skiing, snow skiing, playing soccer. Yet, even at an early age, Lew’s friends saw him as a bit strange. “He was more turned in on himself than most kids,” says Bobby Sillers, a classmate at Highland Park High School, “He had a faraway look in his eyes, like he was deep in thought.”

In 1966, when Lew was 12, his parents shocked Park Cities society by ending their marriage at a time when divorce was still frowned upon. Lew remained close to his father, who seemed to understand him better than most. But Lew’s feelings of loss were compounded only three weeks after the divorce, when his father was killed as a flash flood washed out the bridge on which he was traveling. His father’s death left Lew lonely, afraid and a millionaire. Within a year, the child was in therapy, diagnosed as severely depressed. “Lew had a big problem getting over his father’s death,” said one boyhood friend. “And he had a big problem with his new stepfather.”

That stepfather was Joel T. Williams Jr., former owner of Texas Federal Savings. Lew’s friend says Joel Williams saw his stepson as lazy- a bright boy with a photographic memory who did poorly in school, who lacked any drive or ambition. So Lew was sent to Culver Military Academy in Indiana, one of the best, where he would get the regimented structure that was lacking in his life. Although he spent three years at Culver, he returned to finish his senior year at Highland Park High School, graduating in 1972.

After graduation, he enrolled at the University of Texas in Austin, but only for a year. Lew’s grades were poor, and he didn’t return to school the next fall. Instead, he became something of a trust-fund hippie; making silver jewelry and peddling it on the Drag in Austin. Though he lacked any real goals, whenever his mind seized upon a subject-God, guns, photography- he talked about it incessantly and spent big money on books and equipment. At times, his energy seemed boundless and his thoughts outran his speech. He resented anyone telling him to slow down. He felt good, sure, but what was wrong with that? Then, at age 19, he was diagnosed as manic-depressive.

Only the wealthy can afford to remain manic-depressive for very long. The mood swing toward manic behavior might start pleasantly enough, but that top-of-the-world feeling soon gets costly. To the manic individual, money is meant to be spent; nothing, no matter how lavish, seems out of the question.

With his body chemistry out of balance, his brain is producing neurotransmitters at a frightening rate. Yet this only heightens his creativity as he works for hours on end, completing projects others only dream about. He can’t sleep, won’t eat. In his feelings of grandiosity, he is the center of his own private universe.

If left untreated by drugs, the manic episode can continue for months. Often he grows irritable with a world that spins too slowly; he seems easy to anger, paranoid and, in rare cases, psychotic. Or maybe he sinks downward into a dark depression, perhaps becoming suicidal during his months of despair. Slowly, he climbs back to normalcy, at least for a time, before the whole cycle begins again.

“Bipolar Disorder (manic-depression) is highly genetic,” says Dr. John Cain, psychiatrist and director of psycho-pharmacology research at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. A person with one manic-depressive parent has a 25 percent chance of inheriting the disease, he says. “But it often takes some childhood stress or loss to trigger the cycles.

“One out of a hundred people suffers from manic-depression,” says Cain. Many are highly motivated, successful people who find relief from their mood swings in lithium. Of course, lithium is not without its side effects; tremors, nausea and stomach ailments make it tempting to stray from the medication. The drug lakes away the high, levels you out like a flat Texas road.

Much like the alcoholic in denial, many manic-depressives refuse to take their medication, denying their illness to family and friends, craving the good times of their euphoria. “When you stop taking the medication, it’s inevitable,” says Bob King, head of the Depressive/Manic-Depressive Association in Dallas. “You don’t know if it’s going to be a month, a year or three years, but there’s going to be another manic episode.”
The manic who refuses treatment leaves himself open to repeated attacks of increasing severity. Psychiatrists are quick to point out that manic-depressives are no more violent than the rest of the population, but there are exceptions. “And the greater the number of manic episodes,” says Dallas forensic psychologist Dr. Kevin Karlson. “the more likely the chance of a subsequent episode becoming violent.”

Rich and poor alike can stay in denial about the disease and refuse to take their lithium. But with money comes the freedom to swing toward mania and not jeopardize your job, your family, your ability to bounce back. Says Cain: “Only the wealthy can afford the luxury of a safety net which prevents them from hitting bottom.”

Little did Roberta Stovall (not her real name) know when she rented a modest University Park house through a real-estate agent in the summer of 1980 that the true owner of 3201 Rankin St. was Lew Perryman. Only four months later did she and her roommate notice someone in the small apartment over the garage. “Lew said he had been on a hunting trip to Africa,” says Roberta. “He was quite a gentlemen at first, always asking if we needed anything repaired.”

In time, Perryman changed. His courteous tone took on an edge, he looked hyper and unkempt, his conversations flipped from one subject to the next. Then, one day in December, Roberta heard a knock on her door. It was Lew’s girlfriend, Vicki Lynn Scott. Lew was off his medication, she said. He had wrecked his car and needed help. Roberta loaned her car to Vicki, who kept it for the next two days.

Rather than call the police when the car wasn’t returned, Roberta went to Lew’s mother, Betty Lu Williams, who was apologetic and worried, “It was raining hard outside,” recalls Roberta. “She was afraid that Lew might have another wreck.” Lew’s father, she told Roberta, had died in a car accident in the rain. She also said Lew’s father had suffered from the same illness as Lew. “She felt like it was history repeating itself.” says Roberta. The next night. Vicki was back at Roberta’s door, this time even more frantic. Lew had a sword and was kneeling in the middle of the bed, hara-kiri style, threatening to kill himself.

Roberta called the police, who arrived within minutes. They stormed Lew’s room and carted him off to Baylor Hospital in a straitjacket.

Days later, Perryman escaped and surfaced for a time in Georgia, then Austin, then Dallas. A few weeks later, he shot himself in the knee. Police were called to investigate a potential suicide but concluded it was an accidental shooting. Nevertheless, on December 30, 1980, Lew’s mother went to court. She convinced Probate Judge Joe Ashmore to set up another guardianship for Lew. claiming he was “of unsound mind” and “unable to manage his own affairs.” Lew didn’t take kindly to this arrangement; over the years, the numerous guardianships ordered during his breakdowns only heightened his paranoia about family schemes aimed at depriving him of his inheritance. In an effort to win back control of his affairs, he hired lawyers who, ironically, would be paid by the very guardianship they were hired to destroy.

By mid-January 1981, Lew voluntarily committed himself to Timberlawn Psychiatric Hospital, although a jury later found him “a danger to himself or others,” the legal test for involuntary commitment, For a time, Lew was hostile to the staff and his family. Timberlawn doctors felt it necessary to treat more than just Lew’s manic-depression, because they saw his underlying personality problems and wealth as contributing to his refusal to take his lithium.

Lew’s desire to undo his guardianship and prove his competency gave him a reason to stay on his lithium.

Still, by October 1981, Lew was growing restless with talk therapy and wanted out. He contacted Tom Mills, a zealous criminal lawyer who quickly managed to upset everyone. “His family found it difficult to swallow that I didn’t roll over and play dead.” says Mills. “I represented what Lew wanted, rather than what his parents thought best for him.”

Authorities accused him of crimes in four states and two countries, yet he never suffered a single conviction.

Mills saw the cards stacked against him in Ashmore’s court and believed the judge was doing the family’s bidding by keeping Lew committed. So Mills filed a writ of habeas corpus asking for Lew’s release. The writ landed in Judge John Marshall’s court. And Marshall, only on the bench for a year, followed the law. It didn’t matter that Lew might need more psychotherapy or that he might become a danger at some future time if he again stopped taking his medication. What mattered legally was that at the present time. Perryman was not a danger to himself or others. Marshall let Lew go home.

Lew’s family might have felt victimized by a system that let their son slip through the cracks, refusing the treatment he needed and could afford. Or it might have been that Joel Williams had other things to occupy him. He would run for mayor of University Park the following year. Whatever the reasons, in January 1982, Lew’s mother and stepfather, their patience exhausted, chose not to fight the termination of the guardianship. In the eyes of the law, Lew’s competency was restored.

How Lew Perryman managed to skate through the ’80s without spending the better part of the decade in jail remains a mystery to most. Police arrested Lew twice for aggravated assault and held him on theft, drug and weapons charges. Authorities accused him of crimes in four states and two countries, yet he never suffered a single conviction.

Again, money was the enabler. With each criminal charge, the wheels of Lew’s guardianship would gin up, steering him away from the criminal justice system, working him toward the mental health system. It spun out lawyers, doctors, bankers, all ready to help the sick man and get paid for it. Lew Perryman might never have held a job. but he turned his craziness into a cottage industry. “There were a lot of folks who got fat at his trough,” says David Carlock. who himself was Lew’s attorney for a brief time.

In January 1983, Tom Unis of Strasburger & Price, a major Dallas law firm, phoned Southerland, Asbill and Brennan. a major Atlanta law firm. Unis was seeking information on the whereabouts of Lew Perryman on behalf of his client, Joel T. Williams Jr., then the mayor of University Park. Two lawyers later, it was discovered that Lew had been arrested for theft of service at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Atlanta. A Fulton County judge was roused out of his sick bed as a personal favor to give advice on commitment alternatives. Two Emory University psychiatrists were consulted, both agreeing to treat Lew if he were committed. Two more of the firm’s lawyers got involved, drafting commitment papers, fronting bail money and chasing Lew down after he bolted from the Emory Psychiatric Unit and eventually returned to Dallas. For their vigilance, connections, and legalese, they presented a $12,000 bill.

Judge Joe Ashmore himself seemed to have few qualms about lending the prestige of his position to help Lew. In April 1983, for instance, Lew was charged with the rape of his girlfriend, Vickie Lynn Scott. The judge testified in front of the grand jury on Lew’s behalf. “I had information that Lew and his girlfriend had been shopping for wedding rings,” Ashmore says. In the judge’s mind, therefore, “there was no rape.” The grand jury refused to indict Perryman, and on that same day Ashmore committed Lew to Rusk State Hospital for 90 days. Three years later, in April 1986, Ashmore again would intercede on Perryman’s behalf, this time in Utah. Lew had been arrested in a Provo restaurant for holding a waiter hostage at knife point, then had been committed to the Utah State Mental Hospital. In a letter to the judge, Provo City Attorney Glen Ellis wrote, “You [Ashmore] indicated over the phone that you are his legal guardian and that you will be responsible for him [Perryman] if the authorities in Utah will send him back to you.” Though Ashmore was never Lew’s legal guardian and now calls the letter “totally erroneous,” Lew returned home within a matter of weeks.

Small wonder that Ashmore would, upon leaving the bench, become Lew’s attorney. “It may not be unethical,” says one Dallas judge, “but it just doesn’t pass the smell test.”

With each manic episode. Lew became a little more psychotic. Although his delusions grew more complex with time, they always focused on the same themes.

At the center of Perryman’s delusions is his belief that there is some gap in his genealogy, some cosmic mistake affecting his family tree. If he can close that gap, somehow get the generations in alignment, then all the torment and discord within his own family will cease. So he traveled to Atlanta bent on finding the old Perryman homestead in Georgia. He made trouble in Utah when he went there to do genealogical research with the Mormon Church. But he has enemies in his quest: CIA conspirators lurk at every corner; at different times, he has accused his stepfather, his mother, and Robert Redford of standing in his way. On the night of his rampage, Perryman might have seen Deanna Smith as another enemy out to thwart him.

Between arrests and commitments, mania and depression, this world and the next, Lew continued the good life in University Park. So what if he emulated Howard Hughes, sporting an ascot and a thin mustache; loaded his house with all manner of weapons-rifles, pistols, swords and daggers. So what if he mowed his lawn at one in the morning, and warned new neighbors about being raped and murdered-a regular welcome wagon of paranoia. These were just the eccentricities of a privileged young man, a friendly, harmless, off-kilter kook. “When you’re crazy in the Park Cities, you’re a rich eccentric,” says George Blackman, Lew’s neighbor. “When you’re crazy in South Dallas, you’re in jail.”

Although the University Park police considered Lew, in the words of one officer, “a nut case,” he managed to disarm them with his friendliness. “He was something of a police groupie,” says lawyer David Carlock. “He loved things military, could talk forever about guns and ammo.” And the police kept the same hours as he did. All night long. Many nights squad cars could be seen outside Lew’s house on Rankin. Perryman would be sitting in the front seat with an officer, just smoking a cigarette and talking.

While some neighbors might have tolerated him as “Lewny tunes,” others actually liked him. Ironically, Judge John Marshall lived on Milton, only two blocks from Lew, and somehow they struck up a friendship after the judge released Lew from limber-lawn. What attracted one to the other is open to some speculation. Some say Marshall, having freed Perryman. felt responsible and encouraged the friendship as a means of checking on him. No judge wants his own personal Willie Horton. Marshall, like Perryman. loves an audience, craves conversation, talks incessantly about history, the military, weaponry. And Marshall, like Perryman, has spent a lifetime obsessed with his own genealogy. He is a proud descendant of John Marshall, the fourth chief justice of the Supreme Court. His resume boasts knighthoods in sacred orders and hereditary memberships in chivalric societies. “It makes him feel like royalty,” says one Dallas lawyer.

Though Marshall would later play down his friendship with Lew, they were close enough for Perryman, at one time, to list Marshall as a reference on his bail bond application. Marshall invited Perryman over for Thanksgiving dessert one year. And they were close enough for Marshall to allow a manic Perryman inside his house late at night to talk about family problems.

Last summer, everything seemed fine. Lew was on his medication and had gone more than two years without a manic episode. He had a new girlfriend and busied himself buying and selling antique tools. His family was growing to accept him again, inviting him to gatherings, telling friends they were hopeful things might work out after all.

The dog days of summer hadn’t been particularly good ones for John Marshall. He had been hit by a car while riding his bike, and wound up as a witness to an armed robbery. But nothing prepared him for the events of August 6, 1991, when he was startled out of his sleep by a knock on his front door at 2:38 a.m.

There stood Lew Perryman. wearing a white shirt and dark slacks, two semiautomatic pistols tucked into his waistband. He held a shotgun in his hand and was sweating profusely, obviously in the grip of a manic episode. “John, I need to talk to you,” said the excited Perryman.

Though his wife and child lay asleep in their beds, though Marshall was well aware of Lew’s mental history, though Perryman was armed to the teeth, the judge allowed Lew inside his home. “I thought I could help him,” says Marshall.

Marshall, who could tell Lew was off his medication, did his best to calm him. He sat him down, offered him some orange juice and listened to his paranoid delusions. In great floods of speech. Lew detailed a CIA plot against Ronald Reagan and President Bush that involved a clandestine contract against his own life. Government agents, utilizing interdimensional travel, were on the verge of breaking into this dimension, Marshall’s house was a safe haven, but now that Lew was there, the judge would need his protection as well.

Suddenly, Lew’s mind jumped to a different theme: his relationship with his mother and stepfather. “He became very graphic about how his parents were trying to ruin his life and had no right to,” says Marshall. Their powerful friends were his enemies, so he needed to kill his stepfather. He said he would kill his mother too, if it weren’t for the Ten Commandments. “Then he would stop all conversation, look at the ceiling and act like he was receiving some kind of satellite transmission,” says Marshall.

About 3:40 a.m. Marshall was growing tired, but Perryman insisted on maintaining his mad vigil. “How about if you protect me on my front porch?” suggested Marshall, looking for any excuse to get him out the door. Perryman agreed, and stood in front of the house, shotgun raised across his chest, like a sentry on guard duty. “I had concluded,” says Marshall, “that this situation was beyond my ability to influence. It was important for me to get to the police as quickly as possible.”

But Marshall didn’t dial 911. At first, he didn’t even call the University Park Police, who might have responded within two minutes. Instead, he and his wife began searching for the home number of UP officer Rusty Pavey, a personal friend who had handled Perryman in the past and was well acquainted with Lew’s mental problems. Marshall, seemingly more concerned with protecting Perryman than disarming him, spent the next 20 minutes looking for Pavey’s phone number.

Outside, Deanna Smith, a Dallas Morning News carrier and Texas Instruments technician, was throwing her paper route as she had for the last 13 years. Today her son-in-law, Joseph Galley, was with her, learning the route so he could fill in while she went on vacation. As they parked their car on Milton Street near Hillcrest, Lew Perryman ran out of the darkness, shotgun in hand, and jumped onto a car. “What do you want?” he yelled, convinced in his deluded mind that these people were paid assassins hired to kill the judge.

Rather than answer Lew, Deanna slammed her car into reverse, backing onto Hillcrest. A loud shot exploded, tearing into the car door, hitting Smith in the lower back as she cried out in pain. She managed to point the car toward Snider Plaza before she passed out and struck a light pole. Galley jumped out of the car to run for help. “Everything will be OK,” he told Smith. She died within the hour at Parkland.

Meanwhile, Perryman had leveled his shotgun at UP Police Officer James L. Savage, who was responding to reports of gunfire in the neighborhood. As the officer fled. Lew ran back onto Marshall’s porch. By this time, Marshall was on the phone with the police dispatcher. “I have got Lew Perryman up here,” he said. “He’s got some guns and we have a problem!”
Just then, Perryman fired through the front door, shattering the glass as he tried to enter. Marshall told his wife, Mary Lynn, to grab their daughter and get out the back way, but Perryman was too fast for them. He ran to the back yard, vaulted an 8-foot fence and broke out a back window with his bare hands. As Lew entered through the window, his blood staining the blinds. Marshall’s wife and daughter hid in a closet. Marshall sought cover beside his bed, hoping the mattress might deflect any bullets. He reached for the phone, the police dispatcher still on the line. “He’s in my house!” said Marshall. “Get him out of here, now!”

Perryman began calling out for Marshall as he searched the house. When he found the judge, Perryman seemed surprisingly nonchalant. “John, why are you lying on the floor?” asked Perryman. “Who are you talking to?”

Lew grabbed the phone and began talking to the police, flicking the safety of the shotgun off and on. Off and on. He told the police that if they tried to come in the house, he would kill everybody in his path. Marshall took that to mean him as well. His heart pacing, the judge thought he would pass out. He began controlled breathing to calm himself. ’’I took it as a given that I was not going to survive,” recalls Marshall. “If the chance presented itself, I was going to try and kill him to save my family.”

But Lew’s fury began to subside as he talked with the hostage negotiator, George Kleinmeier, from the Dallas Police Department. Marshall listened on the bedroom phone while Perryman spoke on the kitchen extension, talking nonstop about demonic possession, fraternal organizations and the movies. After nearly three hours spent gaining Lew’s trust, Cpl. Kleinmeier asked Perryman whether he was holding the judge hostage.

“I’m not holding the judge hostage,” said Perryman. “John, do you think I am holding you hostage?”

Marshall, still on the floor, replied. “Well, you do have all the furniture barricaded against the front door.”

Kleinmeier then suggested that Lew ask the judge for a ride home. Perryman did, gave his shotgun to the judge, and the two went out the back door. Once at the back gate near the alley, both men were jumped by police trained to level everyone in sight. “Are you all right, Judge? Are you all right?” screamed Perryman, struggling as if to protect Marshall.
“I think he was willing to protect me right into the next life,” said Marshall, after it was all over.

When Carol Anne Gordon watched the 6 p.m. news in the aftermath of the tragedy, she knew she had to come forward. “Lew’s neighbors were saying the same thing,” explains Gordon. “About him being a loner and them being so surprised this had happened.” But Gordon wasn’t surprised. She had lived near Lew for 11 years and was waiting for this to happen. “We all knew it was just a matter of time,” she says. “And no matter how often we called the police, nothing was ever done.” Gordon says the police always gave the same excuse: that’s just ol’ Lew. He’s harmless if he takes his medication. “It’s like it was written in the UP training manual,” she says.

Perhaps this attitude had clouded the judgment of the University Park police. Two days before the incident, Lew Perryman’s mother had informed them that he was off his medication and acting strange. Just hours before the murder, at 2 a.m., a passing motorist flagged down a UP officer to tell him that a man at Airline and Milton was waving a rifle at people. Police quickly found Perryman standing in his driveway with a shotgun. An officer, sounding more amused than alarmed, radioed the dispatcher. Some 20 minutes later, after watching Lew go inside his house, they radioed the call clear.

Should the police have arrested Lew earlier, made some attempt to secure a mental illness warrant? The family of Deanna Smith thinks so. They have filed a lawsuit alleging that the decision not to arrest Perryman was a “corrupt decision” based on Lew’s wealth and his political connections. “We are aware of numerous incidents of criminal misconduct,” says Emily Young, attorney for the family, “where the police discouraged the residents from filing complaints by telling them about Perryman’s special status as the stepson of the former mayor.” UP Chief of Police Bob Dixon has denied his officers are at fault, calling their actions “proper in every respect.”

Lew Perryman also has been sued, but whether he will be held responsible for his conduct, for his life for that matter, has yet to be decided. But the same forces that have helped him-and failed him-in the past are at work again. Walter Lewis Perryman III now sits at Terrell State Hospital and waits. Waits to stand trial on murder charges, now that his lithium has kicked in and his competency has been restored. Waits for his new guardianship to pay his legal fees, so his attorneys, Joe Ashmore among them, can claim that he’s not guilty by reason of insanity. Waits for his connections, his name, his money to rescue him once again and keep him as crazy as ever.

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