It's January, which means it's time once again for Millet Harrison Jr. to ask a Jefferson County court if he can leave the mental hospital he's been locked up in since he cut out his mother's brain and heart in 1994.
Every year, Harrison Jr., who was found not guilty by reason of insanity for his attempt to rid Mom of the devil, is allowed to ask a judge or jury to be released from Rusk State Hospital. He's asking for a jury this year. The last time he asked for a jury, it took 12 people ten minutes to decide he ought to stay in Rusk for another year.
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Before he strangled and stabbed his 67-year-old mother and "used a hammer, screwdriver, and kitchen and hunting knives to cut off [her] head and remove her eyes, brain and heart," he was considered a soft-spoken, deeply religious man with degrees in chemistry and computer science, according to articles in the Beaumont Enterprise.
As early as five years after the crime, "a Rusk doctor said in a court document that Harrison has been 'stable and free of any signs or symptoms of psychosis...,'" according to the paper. But there have been hitches since, like in 2008, when Harrison Jr. testified that some of his caretakers were members of the KKK. Rusk psychiatrists have been divided over whether he's a good candidate for release.
A diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic, Harrison Jr. told authorities and doctors that he killed his mother "because he heard voices telling him that she was evil and that a recent operation was causing her pain." One officer testified in 2008 that, "'He told me even though he had removed her heart, he was worried they could hook her brain up to a machine and keep her alive. So he said he needed to remove her brain because his main purpose in this was to free his mother of the devil.'" (Which makes perfect sense to us, but what about the eyes? We wonder what his explanation was for removing those.)
We're not sure we'd want to be running next door to borrow a cup of sugar from Harrison Jr., but we can think of at least one dude who'd make a good neighbor for him: Robert Durst.