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  1. #1
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    Summary of Damien's Mental Health History

    5/7/92. E. Arkansas Mental Health Center: Client admits to having been suspended seven times this past semester for initiating fights at school and starting fires. States in one fight he almost gouged out the victim's eyes.

    Clinical report based on psychological tests: The behavior of this youngster is characterized by impulsive hostility...the desire to gain power and demean others springs from animosity and a wish to vindicate past grievances. This teenager believes that past degradations may be undone by provoking fear and intimidation in others. Cool and distant, this youth demonstrates little or no compassion for others.

    5/19/92. Damien arrested for breaking into a trailer with his 15 year old girlfriend, Deanna Holcomb. Suicide pact if they couldn't be together. Damien threatening to kill police officers and Deanna's father when picked up. Convicted of second-degree burglary and sexual misconduct.

    5/19/92 to 6/1/92. Craighead County Juvenile Detention Center.
    Damien voiced suicide plan to folks at the center. Staff reported that Damien and Deanna planned to have a baby and sacrifice it. Damien knocked a peer to the ground,
    sucked the blood from the boy's wounded arm and rubbed the blood on his face. No remorse. Deanna is hospitalized at Mid-South Hospital in Memphis.

    Joyce Cureton, Juvenile Director, reported that "it is our opinion that Damien needs mental health treatment."

    6/1/92 to 6/25/92. Charter Hospital of Little Rock. Immediate hospitalization due to suicidal intent.

    Admits to a history of violence and attempting to scratch out the eyes of a classmate. There were major concerns that Damien was exhibiting disturbed thinking. He has a history of extreme physical aggression toward others. It was felt that he needed to be temporarily removed from his environment to provide protection for him and protection for others.

    Damien states, "I burn myself with lighters. I have huffed gas and paint, used speed, marijuana, glue, and alcohol."

    Progress Notes:

    Damien stated that he got ahold of a police officer's gun, and that if Deanna's father had acted aggressively, "I would have blown him away and the next time I will eliminate that person."

    Denies having a conscience or feelings of regret.

    Stares into space and shows no emotional response to any kind of stimuli.

    Verbalized concern that there are surveillance cameras behind his mirror and under the desk in his room. Quite paranoid; he definitely bears watching.

    Still drawing witchcraft symbols & continues to speak of bizarre and unusual practices.

    Makes an unusual sound with his mouth that sounds like a cat purr.

    States that visit with parents didn't go well, but would not elaborate.

    Damien's mother concerned about her son "not learning to deal with anger and rages." Thinks Damien is responding to outside stimulation. Voiced fear that "son may be crazy."

    6/25/92. Damien discharged to mother with instructions for continuing care. Family moving to Oregon.

    8/13/92 Home Visit Evaluation by Calvin Downey, Oregon Juvenile Counselor:

    Damien indicates he did spend approximately 30 days in a psychiatric hospital via court order, because he was suicidal. He feel his prior depression has improved greatly. Denies use of nonprescribed, controlled substances or alcohol.

    Mrs. Echols indicates there are no family conflicts with Damien, that he gets along well with the family, that she does not believe he has a behavioral problem & that she does not need any services from this state.

    9/1/92. Officer Ortez is called to the Echols' apartment in Oregon. Damien transported to St. Vincent's Hospital.

    Emergency Room Report: The patient denies suicidal or homicidal ideation. However, in talking with family members, they state that he made it quite clear that he had thoughts of harming other people, i.e. was going to cut mother's throat, and also made verbal threats to his father here at St. Vincent's.

    Parents state that he has sniffed propane, glue, gasoline and almost any other drug that is possible. Parental concerns regarding satanism, devil worship.

    Admission diagnosis: Suicidal/homicidal ideation.

    9/4/92. Discharged from St. Vincent's. Because of Damien's threats, both parents do not feel that they wish to have him return to their home. They are frightened of him and what he can do, not only to them but to the other children who reside in the home (2 others). Damien is to return to Arkansas by bus.

    9/14/92 to 9/28/92. Readmitted to Charter Hospital from Juvenile Detention Center. He admitted to sucking the blood out of a peer's neck while in the Center. The other peers were afraid of him. Threats to kill both parents (slash throats, eat alive).

    Presenting problem: Homicidal and psychosis. Alteration in thought processes evidenced by delusional thinking and inappropriate social behavior.

    Progress notes: Belief in devil worship, has agreed to threatening to "kill" others. Bizarre behaviors. Stated he had attempted suicide before and "wasn't worried about trying again, because I know I can come back."

    Says he's going to eat father and that he needs to be locked up or he will hurt someone.

    Peers complaining of Damien making growling sounds at them.

    Continues talk of satanism. Possible deprogramming needed. Could be a danger to others.

    Continues laughing strangely and getting peers to feed into his satanism. Tries to keep staff from seeing him do anything other than what's appropriate according to unit guidelines. Depressed mood, bizarre behavior.

    Said he was "happy to be here because otherwise he'd be in jail and this has to be better."

    Spoke with Jerry Driver re: Damien's discharge to stepfather Jack Echols. Said this was "ok".

    Diagnosis: Psychotic Disorder NOS and Dysthymia. Prognosis: Poor.

    1/5/93. Mental Health Center reopens case: Reports self-mutilation, cutting self with knives. Will "trance out" since 5th grade - doesn't have to deal with what's going on. Says he thinks a lot about life after death--"I want to go where the monsters go." He admits being caught with satanic items, but denies cult involvement.

    Is interested in witchcraft for the past 8 years. He has tried to steal energy from someone else and influence others' minds with witchcraft. Describes self as "pretty much hates the human race." Relates that he feels people are in two classes--sheep and wolves (wolves eat the sheep).

    1/13/93: Damien reports that he's very angry with family members and with other people who have "let him down". He discussed issues of power & control. He states that he could make things happen. Affect and mood was flat.

    1/19/93: Reveals history of abuse as he talked of how he was treated as a child. States, "I just put it all inside." Describes this as more than just anger - like rage. Sometimes he does "blow up." Relates that when this happens, the only solution is to "hurt someone." When questioned on his feelings he states, "I know I'm going to influence the world. People will remember me."

    1/20/93: Damien is an 18 year old, recently discharged from Charter Hospital. He's had three psychiatric hospitalizations. Each has been associated with anger, thoughts of killing others, and thoughts of killing himself.

    1/25/93: Speaks of rituals, drinking blood, more involved in demonology. Damien explained that he obtains his power by drinking blood of others. He typically drinks the blood of a sexual partner or of a ruling partner. This is achieved by biting or cutting. He states, "It makes me feel like a god."


    Damien describes drinking blood as giving him more power and strength. He remembers doing this as far back as age 10. He wants very much to be all powerful. He wants very much to be in total control.

    Damien relates that a spirit is now living with him. The spirit was put inside him last year. He indicates that a month ago, the spirit decided to become part of him and he to become part of the spirit. This is reportedly a spirit of a woman who was killed by her husband. In addition, he also reports conversations with demons and other spirits. This is achieved through rituals.

    He denies that he's satanic, seeing himself more as being involved in demonology.

    Affect and mood today continued to be bland, although there was more emotion when talking about drinking blood.

    2/5/93: Damien is noted to have cuts on his right arm and hand. Related that he cut himself as a way of permanently marking his skin. Related feeling very angry yesterday when running into previous girlfriend. "I controlled it - I can do anything."

    5/5/93: At times he is impulsive and does things that may be harmful to him. He has impulses to do strange and harmful things.

    5/5/93: Christopher Byers, Steve Branch, and Michael Moore are murdered.

  2. #2
    His "extensive history of mental illness" began in 1992? Like I said before, NONsense.

    I've read this tripe before, and much of what they judged to be abnormal behavior is behavior that I have observed in students (who were not judged to be mentally ill, only teenagers). I'm not going to take the time to discuss this garbage item by item, but any intelligent person can see that this proves nothing.

  3. #3
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    So you want to perpetuate that relevant facts of this case are tripe?


    Damien's mental health records are reports from 3 mental institutions in two different states.

  4. #4
    Again, his past mental history does not make him a murderer. Also, I seriously doubt that a two-year (really less than that) history constitutes enough of a history to establish a sufficient pattern to even be considered as "proof" of anything. In one of his rare rulings that made sense, Judge Burnett disallowed this document at trial. It should have been sealed as it is a juvenile record. However, someone posted it online. As I previously stated, I'm confident that a new evaluation of Damien would produce far different results since he is no longer a rebellious teenager. IMO, much of the behavior discussed in Exhibit 500 is that of a rebellious teen, not that of a psychotic murderer.

  5. #5
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    You can't just brush it aside, it shows who he was and what he was about at the time of the murders.
    You don't get a medal for switching alliances just before the result, as it becomes apparent the other team is set to win.

  6. #6
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    We have 1 year of mental eval. I can't brush it aside, but I can't justify it as him being a murderer. I never liked psychobabble anyway - but show me some DNA from the crime scene, then I'll consider it. 3 teens were out there and nothing but a confession from one of them. No scientific data to back it up.

    I already know you will all disagree with me - no worries.

    Mel

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Compassionate Reader View Post
    His "extensive history of mental illness" began in 1992? Like I said before, NONsense.
    So you disagree with Damien's own defense witness, Dr. Woods, who said that Damien's mental illness began in childhood?

    Here ya go:

    These symptoms (hallucinations, delusions) persisted throughout his childhood and adolescence and grew to include periods of psychosis.

    Quote Originally Posted by Compassionate Reader View Post
    I've read this tripe before, and much of what they judged to be abnormal behavior is behavior that I have observed in students (who were not judged to be mentally ill, only teenagers).
    So again, you discount the diagnosis of Damien's own defense witness, who is a forensic psychiatrist:

    Mr. Echols has been evaluated on three separate occasions by three different psychologists, each of whom administered a battery of tests. The independent test results were quite consistent: all revealed valid profiles and strong indications of depression, mania, severe anxiety, delusions and psychosis.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Compassionate Reader View Post
    Again, his past mental history does not make him a murderer. Also, I seriously doubt that a two-year (really less than that) history constitutes enough of a history to establish a sufficient pattern to even be considered as "proof" of anything. In one of his rare rulings that made sense, Judge Burnett disallowed this document at trial. It should have been sealed as it is a juvenile record. However, someone posted it online. As I previously stated, I'm confident that a new evaluation of Damien would produce far different results since he is no longer a rebellious teenager. IMO, much of the behavior discussed in Exhibit 500 is that of a rebellious teen, not that of a psychotic murderer.
    This is not the mind of a rebellious teenager, this is the mind of someone who is seriously seriously mentally ill & psychotic.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by mgardner View Post
    We have 1 year of mental eval. I can't brush it aside, but I can't justify it as him being a murderer. I never liked psychobabble anyway - but show me some DNA from the crime scene, then I'll consider it. 3 teens were out there and nothing but a confession from one of them. No scientific data to back it up.

    I already know you will all disagree with me - no worries.

    Mel
    There have been a number of cases that resulted in convictions by juries, and without the benefit of DNA. I posted a list of a few of them somewhere on this case's threads.
    People are indeed convicted on circumstantial evidence alone. I didn't have a hard time at all in finding some of those cases, and the outcomes.

  10. #10
    Let me state one more time, a history of mental problems, no matter how long, does not make someone a murderer. Like Mel said, show me some physical proof that they were there. I know that people are convicted on circumstantial evidence. However, how many people are convicted on circumstantial evidence when the DNA of someone else (not the victim) is found at the discovery site?


  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Compassionate Reader View Post
    Let me state one more time, a history of mental problems, no matter how long, does not make someone a murderer.
    I thought we were past that. I already agreed with you on that issue in message 165:

    Mary: “I don't know of a single non who claims that Damien's mental illness, taken alone, is proof that he was a murderer. It's simply another piece of the puzzle in a powerfully circumstantial case. And it fits perfectly."

    What I don’t understand is why you’re trying so desperately to deny his severe mental illness if, as you claim, it didn’t make him a murderer. Why deny psychosis and suggest simply a benign neurosis?

    Your message 152: “I don't think he's psychotic. Neurotic, maybe, but many people suffer from neuroses.”

    Also, I was hoping you’d answer my original question:

    Do you discount the diagnosis of Damien's own defense witness, who is a forensic psychiatrist?

    Mr. Echols has been evaluated on three separate occasions by three different psychologists, each of whom administered a battery of tests. The independent test results were quite consistent: all revealed valid profiles and strong indications of depression, mania, severe anxiety, delusions and psychosis.

  12. #12
    "Strong indications of depression, mania, severe anxiety, delusions and psychosis" does not say that he is psychotic. It just says that indications of these things are present. I don't know if I wouldn't have indications of these things at certain times in my life. I still believe what I said previously: I don't think Damien is psychotic but possibly neurotic.

    I do agree with you in that I think he had serious problems as a teenager, but I think most of those issues have been dealt with and he is much better now. I admit that this is just my opinion. Also, as I stated earlier, I would like to see an independent psychological examination of him currently.

    Someone said that his psychological state now is not relevant to his state back in '93. I disagree. Since his psychological state in '93 didn't make him commit murder, if he is free of psychoses currently, he was not psychotic back in '93. The way I understand psychoses, it's not something you can outgrow, like teenage angst. So, proving him free of psychosis now would make the argument that he was psychotic back then invalid.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Compassionate Reader View Post
    Since his psychological state in '93 didn't make him commit murder, if he is free of psychoses currently, he was not psychotic back in '93.
    OMG. I give up.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mary456 View Post
    OMG. I give up.
    CR's point--I believe--is that psychoses are incurable. The symptoms may be treated with medication and the psychotic person may eventually function normally, but the underlying psychosis never actually "goes away."

    So by definition, if Damien is not psychotic now, he was not psychotic in 1993.

    That isn't to say he wasn't a troubled young man. And while we lay people tend to think of psychosis as "worse" than mere neurosis, in fact, depending on the circumstances, a neurotic may be more likely to commit murder or act out in other dramatic ways.

    More telling is CR's personal experience as an educator with the ways that unhappy teens act out and the drama they create without actually killing anyone or even really intending to do so.

  15. #15
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    Answer me this...


    If Damien was so "psychotic" and whatnot, how could he be fit to stand trial?

    Growing up I had a cousin who would bite people, spit on them start fires, was constantly in fights and was constantly kicked out of schools. Just because he acted that way doesn't mean he would turn out to be a murderer. I think he was just suffering from neglect from his mother and was acting out. He's fine now. I would never judge him from how he acted in the past. I truly think that real psychosis doesn't go away.
    What you're dealing with is a horrendous crime. Three young boys murdered in cold blood. Just that alone upsets people. You look at the bodies and there are these savage injuries all over. It affects people emotionally and warps their judgement and then someone says, "Maybe it's satanic."

    And they say, "Well the only type of person who would do this would be someone like that."

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