Witness: Suspect incompetent

Author(s): BILL LODGE Date: January 6, 2011 Section: South LA. & Business

A federal prison psychologist testified Wednesday that a Greenwell Springs man is not competent to assist in his defense against a charge that he threatened the lives of President Barack Obama, Gov. Bobby Jindal and others. Dr. Randall Rattan, a forensic psychologist at the Federal Correctional Institution at Fort Worth, testified that 26-year-old Abram Kane Williams is a combat veteran with paranoid delusions. Rattan told U.S. District Judge Brian A. Jackson that Williams truly believes lawyers, judges and doctors are conspiring to kill Iraq War veterans who criticize government decisions.

"lie (Williams) was quite clear that was his belief," Rattan testified.

"Do you find him to be a danger to himself or others?" asked Brent Stockstill, Williams' lawyer.

"I do not," Rattan replied.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael J. Jefferson asked Rattan whether he had read Williams' criminal complaint.

Rattan said he had, but added that Williams' lack of a criminal history makes him no more than "a minimal to moderate risk" to become violent.

"We recommend a restoration of competency," Rattan said. "He might benefit from additional treatment."

Williams was arrested in July after Special Agent Sean Connor of the U.S. Secret Service filed a complaint based on interviews with employees of the Louisiana Office of Veterans Affairs and Jindal's staff.

Those people either met face-to-face with Williams, Connor wrote, or they received phone calls or faxes from the former member of the Louisiana Army National Guard.

The LOVA serves as a liaison between Louisiana veterans and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, which had denied Williams' claim for disability payments. Connor said one LOVA employee quoted Williams as saying: "The people I killed in war weren't the ones who did anything to me. It's the people here who did."

Connor also said in the Secret Service complaint that Williams was alleged by state employees to have referred to Obama, Jindal and U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-Baton Rouge, before saying he would "take them out."

The agent also wrote that Williams later denied threatening Obama and said at the time of his arrest, "I am ready to die."

Despite concerns on the part of his attorney, Williams took the witness stand Wednesday.

"I'm not taking any medication today," Williams told the judge. He said he ceased taking medicine "11 to 12 weeks ago."

When he was on prescribed medications, Williams testified, "1 felt numb. I was a zombie."

"Now, I feel human," Williams said. Williams told Stockstill he bears no ill will toward employees of veterans' programs and has no desire to kill any officials.

"I never felt that way," Williams insisted.

"Why do you think those medications were prescribed for you," asked Jefferson, the prosecutor.

"I was angry," Williams said, adding that his combat experiences in 2003 made him a different person. Me added that he no longer wants medications because hundreds of the "over 60,000 veterans" on psychotropic medicine have committed suicide.

"We're grateful for your service to our nation," Jackson told Williams. The judge then returned Williams to the custody of the Bureau of Prisons for 90 days of additional testing to determine whether he remains incompetent for trial.

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