My name is Chaz Walker and I and reaching out to you for help as a victim. I have summarized what has happened to the best of my ability in the paragraphs to follow. Please read this and tell me if you have any ideas to contribute to reach my goal of justice for our families. There are a couple of problems with State Statues and laws in North Carolina that I can directly see and feel as a victim. I have reached out to District Attorneys, Lawyers, my Legislator, and various other people only to be turned away with a generic answer like "we don't deal with that" or "it sounds wrong but I don't know how to help, your case is really unique" these are the problems I have to address:
-Wendell Williamson was able to enter a contractual relationship, publish and dictate who should receive profits from his book stemming from his crime on January 26th, 1996
-Last October (2012) Wendell had his annual hearing and his privileges were increased from 12 hours off campus supervised to 12 hours off campus unsupervised with family members with no notification to the victims families or the community any time he departs campus into society.
-During his annual hearings the victims families are not permitted or asked to give any type of victim impact statements
-The two times that Wendell walked off campus (DDH) I was not notified
-North Carolina does not have an adequate "Son of Sam" law that prohibits convicted persons from profiting from their crimes
I can clearly remember that day when I was 11 years old in the 6th grade; a person came to my classroom door and asked the teacher if Chaz Walker was in this class? Her response was yes; from there I was taken to the Principal’s Office where my Mother was already awaiting my arrival. I was then told of the horrific tragedy that had just taken place less than 20 miles away in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Although I never knew my Father this would be a life changing event with “what if” situations and thoughts that had been taken from both of my Brothers, the Riechardt family and me. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think to myself; what if my Father would have wanted to gain our love back? What if it would have been that day that he decided to do that?
At the ripe age of 30, I am a husband and now a proud Father of a beautiful little girl whom I cherish with all my heart. Watching her grow, learn, and develop into a young lady is priceless, being a Father also gives me a different perspective on life and you really start to see how precious and delicate it truly is. I could not imagine life without her in it and more less me not being a part of hers. I suppose one could say that these circumstances would provide a guide of “what not to do” or that I realize what I did not have growing up. Either way all I do know is that you only get one shot at this and I want to do the best that I can with what I have while I’m here.
The man’s name who shot and killed my Father on January 26th, 1995 with an M1 grand rifle while he was checking his mailbox in front of his home is Wendell Justin Williamson a UNC Law student. Wendell would be given a verdict of Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity by jury for his actions on that day. Through his verdict he would become a ward of the state in North Carolina with rights as any other North Carolinian and his privileges to be determined by the court at an annual hearing. Wendell would spend majority of his days in Dorathea Dix Hospital (DDH) in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina and recently transferred to a newer psychiatric facility in Butner, North Carolina; Central Regional Hospital. Wendell would go on to write and publish a book, with the aid of North Carolina State University Graduate (NCST); Amy Suzanne Martin, titled “Nightmare: A Schizophrenia Narrative”. This book is a detailed recollection of his struggle with paranoid schizophrenia; the firsthand account of his actions that day, his brief incarceration at Central Prison and his psychiatric hospitalization to follow this tragic outcome.
During July 2011 I was conducting a google search regarding my Father; Ralph Woodrow Walker. It was during this search that I found out that Wendell Justin Williamson had published a book titled “Nightmare: A Schizophrenia Narrative”, edited by Amy Suzanne Martin. I reached out to Dorethea Dix Hospital and I was put in contact with Elizabeth Nickels, Social Worker on the FMIN Unit where Wendell resided. I asked Mrs. Nickels if it were possible for me to ask Wendell some questions in person, face to face myself to help me receive some form of "closure". Mrs. Nickels could neither confirm nor deny if they had a patient by that name because of HIPAA law but requested my contact information and told me that she would call me back. I received a call back from Mrs. Nickels and was told that “At this point in time what you are trying to do is not conducive to Mr. Williamson’s treatment and to try back in the future” if I was still interested. I kind of let it go at this point, but every now and again my curiosity would arise and I would get to wondering.....Why was he able to publish this book without my consent? Where was the money going from his book? How does Wendell truly feel about his actions in 1995 now? What is his life like in a mental health treatment environment?
The Mental Health Communication Network is the advertised publisher on the back of the book and also on www.Amazon.com. I began to do a little digging at this point. I again reached out to Mrs. Nickels in May 2012 and again asked if I could meet with Wendell that I had no ill will towards him but just sought out some "closure" in my life, being that he took my Father from me as a child. Mrs. Nickels took the call a little more seriously this go round and said that this would not happen overnight, that it would have to go through several people first and get approved, that I would have to come in and meet with her and the nurse manager prior to this meeting taking place and submit to a pat search, metal detector search and I would not be allowed to bring any recording devices inside the institution where the meeting would take place, if it were to happen. Some time passed and I came up with my questions to ask Wendell and submitted them to Mrs. Nickels who in turn gave it to the treatment team for review and then to Wendell himself.
During the July 2012 time frame I began to get curious again and wanted to know definitively where the profits from his book were going. Knowing that the Durham based Mental Health Communications Network is listed as the publisher on www.Amazon.com. I attempted to seek out their contact information but could only find a P.O. Box associated with them on the back of the book with no help via the internet searching that P.O. Box. I then conducted a search on the North Carolina Secretary of State website and searched for the Mental Health Communication network (http://www.secretary.state.nc.us/corporations/Corp.aspx?PitemId=5342855) and found that the Registered Agent was Amy Suzanne Martin with a mailing address of 4711 Hope Valley Road, Durham, NC 27707. Well I am from the Durham area and very familiar with this portion of town. So my next day off I drove by and walked up to the house and spoke with Mrs. Martin’s Father. I relayed to him that I had some questions for Mrs. Martin concerning the book but did not reveal that I was the Son of Ralph Walker. Well about 2 weeks went by and I was already anxious about the situation and this was only rising. So I drove by again and spoke to Mr. Martin (Amy’s Father) again except this time I did reveal that I was Ralph Walker’s Son, Mr. Martin was very apologetic that he had forgotten and wrote my information down again. This time I did receive a call from Mrs. Martin. She had a very scratchy voice and explained to me that she had a condition that made it hard for her to speak. Never the less we maintained a phone conversation for approx. 2 ½ hours speaking about her and Wendell’s relationship. Mrs. Martin shared with me that she was writing her Theseus paper while attending NCST on how the media portrayed Williamson as a monster or villain vs. someone with an untreated mental illness. Mrs. Martin also told me that when she completed her Theseus paper that her professor suggested for her to go meet with Wendell to get a first person account of what he was like. I think she said that it was during her second meeting with Wendell that he passed a manuscript of his recollection of what happened Leading to the event, during and after the incident on January 26th, 1995 to her and asked her to read it. She did.
It was at this point that she agreed it was a good read and that the book could be very insightful to other people with the same problem…untreated paranoid schizophrenia or mental illness. Amy Suzanne Martin and Wendell Williamson, from what I have gathered, were interested in seeing the profits help future mental illnesses and, on her own, Amy went and applied for a Non-Profit Organization (NPO) named the Durham Based Mental Health Communication Network. I learned through some local news articles, that iUniverse (Publisher) accepted the initial publication contract of the manuscript; I have been unsuccessful as to what terms were agreed upon in that contract. Shortly after acceptance of the book iUniverse dropped the publication in fear of Civil Litigation from the victim’s family members. After hearing this; a former college associate (Smithson Mills) that attended UNC with Wendell Williamson and offered to purchase the rights to the book for 1000.00 and publish the book privately, but under one condition Amy Suzanne Martin says. The condition was that Wendell Williamson, Amy Suzanne Martin and Smithson Mills never disclose Smithson’s name as the purchaser of the rights to the book or as the publisher of the book, the reason for this was because at the time Smithson was an employee of North Carolina's department of Agriculture and it is seen as a conflict of interest to publish this and remain an employee. To this day if you were to go to www.Amazon.com, query the book or Author Wendell Williamson you will see that the Publisher is in fact not Smithson Mills, instead The Durham Based Mental Health Communication Network (Amy Suzanne Martin has stated to me that she has no involvement with the book or the NPO since Smithson purchased the rights and published the book himself) and that this Non-profit Organization is “dedicated to preventing violence, suicide and other consequences of untreated severe mental illness.”, “The Mental Health Communication Network is a non-profit organization dedicated to preventing violence through improving mental health awareness. Neither Williamson nor his family will profit financially from the sale of this book.” but none of the proceeds have gone to benefit this mission. (http://www.amazon.com/Nightmare-Schizophrenia-Narrative-Wendell-Williamson/dp/product-description/0971222908/ref=dp_proddesc_0?ie=UTF8&n=283155&s=books)
Later in the month of July I received approval from Mrs. Nickels through DDH to meet with Wendell Williamson given that I submit to the conditions requested. On July 25th, 2012 one week in the wake of the Colorado movie shooting, I got in my car and made my way through Raleigh towards DDH with all kinds of mixed emotions going through my mind. I was worried if indeed I was strong enough to do this, could I handle what he was going to say? Would he show emotion/remourse? Or be like majority of people taking antipsychotics and lack emotion or facial expressions? And more importantly, was he going to provide answers and show remorse to my questions that would satisfy my curiosity and possibly give me the "closure" to the biggest gap in my life thus far? My Father.
When I arrived on the campus at DDH there was an ominous feeling in the air. I parked my car and called Mrs. Nickels to inform her I was there. She told me to wait for her at the door at the loading dock behind the FMIN Unit. While I was waiting the air became really dense, almost hard to breathe, a dark cloud came over the facility followed by some down pour that was backed by intense gusts of wind. Luckily for me I was safe under the structure at the loading dock awaiting Mrs. Nickels. I waited about five minutes and I was greeted by Mrs. Nickels to be escorted into the facility.
When I entered the facility I submitted to the procedures that I was informed of prior; a pat search, metal detection and to leave all items at the entrance prior to going in the Unit. Once past the entry access door from that point the Hospital was very desolate and under renovation until we arrived at the waiting area in the FMIN Unit which had a couple of bench seats and vending machines. I was chaperoned by a gentleman in that waiting area while Mrs. Nickels entered the Unit. He and I talked about veteran affairs topics since we were both veterans and Mrs. Nickels returned five minutes later to escort me back. Once we entered the Unit, it opened up to a long hallway with what appeared to be a nurse’s station at the end. Patients could be seen walking around and there were pictures that had been painted and drawn on the walls, I assume by the patients. We probably walked past five doors and Mrs. Nickels asked me if I was ready? And I replied yes. She looked at an open door on our right side and told me that this is where we will be conducting this meeting. I felt a little over whelmed but went through that door anyways.
Upon entering the room I scanned it very quickly. Once I entered the room an empty chair was visible at the end of a large conference table where I was meant to sit, going around the table to the left sat the man that chaperoned me into the facility, the nurse manager that interviewed with me the first time with Mrs. Nickels, then sat Wendell Williamson at the other end of the table and to my right was Mrs. Nickels. The room had two doors and it was not a large room I would say an 8x12 with a large conference table taking up majority of the room. At the entrance of the other door sat Wendell Williamson and the other me. Even though there were five people in this small room it felt as if it were just Wendell and I sitting at a table across from each other. We sat and stared at each other for a decent amount of time before I began by telling Wendell that I forgave him a long time ago for what he did to not only my family and me but so many others as well. I was allowed to bring in my list of questions and use a pen supplied by DDH to take notes of Wendell’s replies and I began asking Wendell the questions I supplied to DDH. Below are the exact questions that I asked Wendell Williamson and my best recollection of what he said in reply, if there is no response it is because I cannot recall or summarize what was said.
How important do you feel a Father/Son relationship is?
VERY IMPORTANT, I LOVED MY FATHER
I would like to let you know that I did not have a relationship with my Father, but when you did what you did it really left a hole where a relationship could be now.
If you would have seen your Father that day what would the outcome have been?
NO, I WOULD NOT HAVE KILLED MY FATHER. I LOVE HIM TOO MUCH
What do you see/feel/think when you look at me? (assuming that we are face to face)
I AM ASHAMED FOR WHAT I HAVE DONE TO YOU AND I AM SORRY
Why did you not have any of the proceeds from your book go to help the families that you hurt? Can you specifically tell me which organization(s) you donated the proceeds to?
I SOLD THE RIGHTS TO THE BOOK TO SOMEONE AND I AM NOT SURE WHERE THE PROFITS ARE GOING
What does a "normal" day consist of for you from when you wake up to when you go to sleep?
WENDELL RECAPPED A NORMAL DAY FROM WHEN HE WAKES UP TO WHEN HE GOES TO SLEEP
The two times that you escaped, what were your intentions?
I ONLY ESCAPED ONCE AND I WENT TO LAKE WHEELER TO GO FOR A SWIM. I USED TO LIKE SWIMMING BEFORE THAT HAPPENED AND I THOUGHT THAT SINCE I HAD NOT SWAM IN A WHILE THAT EVENTUALLY I WOULD CRAMP UP AND DROWN, BUT THAT DID NOT HAPPEN AND AFTER ABOUT 5 HOURS OF SWIMMING I BECAME TIRED AND CALLED THE HOSPITAL.
What do you want from your life when/if you get your freedom back?
I DON’T THINK THAT I WILL GET MY LIFE BACK. I THINK THAT IN SOME WAY, IF I AM TO BE RELEASED, I WILL BE MONITORED FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE AND HAVE TO TAKE MEDICATION.
In your book you mention that the media made you look bad, how did you want to be portrayed?
DID YOU READ THE BOOK? MY ANSWER IS IN THERE
You also mention in your book that you think of my Father, Ralph Walker, every day; how so? what are your thoughts?
I AM VERY SORRY FOR WHAT I HAVE DONE TO YOU
What do you think I should tell my child when asked "Where is my Grand Father?"
Wendell recited a psychiatrist from television in response to the Aurora, Colorado movie theater shooting that happened earlier that week
Why did you not try to contact me despite what your lawyers told you?
Do you have any question or anything you would like to say to me before we part?
I DID NOT WANT TO CAUSE YOU ANYMORE PAIN AND MY LAWYER ALWAYS SUGGESTED THAT IT WAS NOT A GOOD IDEA.
In December 2012 Smithson Mills and I met, during this meeting I requested for him to relinquish his rights and proceeds to/from the book to victims families as North Carolina State Statute 15B intends for it to happen. We both agreed that the end of January would be a fair time frame to get back in touch for an answer....his answer was no, that he had no intentions on doing any legal concerns with the book and that I took on a coercive attitude with my request. I have tried to contact Smithson since and cannot get a hold of him through any form of communication. I also asked Wendell's attorney to ask him to relinquish any future Intellectual Property rights to that day to the families and after waiting nearly a month and a half for a reply his answer was that he would rather leave things the way that they are and he has no intentions of giving up anymore of his rights. After receiving these replies I decided that I needed more help and reached out to my local news station. ABC Raleigh/Durham aired a segment and again I received no reply with help. Yesterday on 6/7/13 I spoke with my state Legislature Rep. Nathan Baskerville in district 32, finally after requesting him to contact me since February I was able to speak to him and the only reason I was able to was because I called his law office, I was told that although my claim may be right that it is not a priority that Legislature is currently trying to pass a budget bill and even if he had a bill written for the claims that I have addressed that he would need to address the speaker of the house to get the bill on the floor and suggested that I contact him. Rep. Baskerville then proceeded to tell me that I needed to be prepared as this could take years to resolve through legislation. I just feel that every turn or corner I approach no one can help and this feels like a slap in the face after my Father and Kevin were taken in this random act of violence. Mean while, the very government, statutes/rules/policies that are suppose to prevent anything like this from happening just sit back and watch is unacceptable. We are asking for help and any insight you can provide that may lead to a solution would be greatly appreciated. Please feel free to contact me with any questions/concerns/comments/or help.
Wendell Williamson's amazon book page
North Carolina State Statute
Thank you in advance,