"My Son Has Killed My Wife"
Late one afternoon in June 2006, Joe Bruce of Caratunk, Maine, came home from work to find his wife dead. He called 911 and told the dispatcher that his 24-year-old schizophrenic son, William, had killed her, that he couldn't find the son, and that he was arming himself for self-defense.
On June 20, two months after his son's release, Joe Bruce returned home from his office to find his wife'sbattered, bloodied body. William was gone.
According to the medical examiner's report, Amy died of multiple blunt-force trauma and chop injuries to her head. She was 47 years old.
Police arrested William Bruce at his grandparents' house and later charged him with killing his mother. He told a psychologist that the Pope told him to kill his mother because she was involved with al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein. Joe Bruce became William's legal guardian and gained access to his medical records. When police returned Amy Bruce's purse to Joe, he found an unsent letter she had written to her eldest son. It read...
"I've always had this horrible feeling that I've let you down in some way," she wrote. "The only wish I have is that someday we can look each other straight in the eyes and say I'm sorry and I love you more than life itself." She added: "I will not give up on you ever."
About Amy and Joe’s son:
William said the first time he came to Riverview, he refused to believe he was mentally ill and approached the PAIMI advocates because he wanted out.
The PAIMI program, operated by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration with a 2008 budget of $34.8 million a year, funds protection-and-advocacy agencies in each state. Typically nonprofits, these groups sometimes receive supplemental funding from states.
"They helped me immensely with getting out of the hospital, so I was very happy," he said. He later added,"The advocates didn't protect me from myself, unfortunately."
These days, William is taking criminal-justice classes online through Colorado Technical University. He points proudly to his 3.94 grade-point average and says he hopes to attend law school to learn more about mental-health laws. William and his father talk on the phone almost every day. "He stood by me the whole time despite the horrible tragedy...despite what I did," William said. "I am the man I am today because of my dad."
While William believes patients deserve some protection, he said he understands his father's fight to strengthen commitment and treatment laws.
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