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Monster Psychologist or Helper Born of Tragedy?
According to news reports earlier this week, "Party Monster" James St. James was barely one year old when the psychologist who took the same name purportedly killed his own sister and parents. After a jury found James Wolcott not guilty by reason of insanity he spent 6 years in a psychiatric hospital, and after his release around age 21 at which time he changed his name to St. James, pursued a career as a psychologist, now a well-liked professor at Millikin University.
Although reports suggest that schizophrenia or the toxic effects of inhalants kept him from knowing what he did was wrong skeptics have voiced the belief that he simply fooled a gullible judge and jury and got away with murder.
Does his apparently spotless record since release mean nothing? Has he successfully concealed a life of crime? Or does he represent another of the rare individuals with schizophrenia who, like St. James' fellow psychologist Fred Frese, have kept the illness from interfering with success?
I like to think that St. James committed those horrific acts while psychotic, that the jury came to the right conclusion, that a life that could have been wasted, was not, and that his victims may have wanted him to redeem himself through his career teaching others to help the mentally ill.