Raymond Wood

The following synopsis was taken from the now-defunct www.larryrobison.org page:

The Raymond Wood Case

Synopsis of the Case: The Johnson County Missouri prosecutor in Warrensburg, Missouri, has charged Raymond Wood with five counts of capital murder. Ray is accused of intentionally murdering his wife and four oldest children on February 14, 2000. He is further charged with aggravated battery on his two youngest children who survived.

Prior to February 2000, Ray had a 15 year history of mental illness and was diagnosed with schizoaffective, bipolar type. For the past three years, he has continued to receive care for his mental illness at a maximum security mental hospital. Two days after the homicides, on February 16, 2000, Ray was involuntarily committed to Fulton State Mental Hospital.

He is still in the facility being treated for schizoaffective, bipolar disorder. As of May 2003, Ray's brain continues to unpredictably fluctuate between reality and non-reality.

UPDATES: The Raymond Wood Capital Murder Case


Case Summary: The defendant in this case has a 19-year history of severe mental illness.

On February 14, 2000, he allegedly killed his wife and four children. The evening of the homicide, the prosecutor and the sheriff made the decision to send in the defendant’s minister (also a deputy) to interrogate this clearly mentally ill individual. The prosecutor and the sheriff sent in another deputy to break any ministerial confidentiality the defendant had with his minister.

Trial Court Ruling: For the defendant.

The trial judge found the defendant was severely mentally ill at the time of the interogation. In suppressing any statements the defendant may have made, she concluded:

(1) "Certain interrogation techniques . . . are so offensive to a civilized system of justice that they must be condemned. Such interrogation techniques, applied to the unique characteristics of the Defendant, exist in this case."

(2) "Suppressing the defendant’s statement in this case, would serve the purpose of enforcing the constitutional guarantees and substantially deter future violations of the constitution by law enforcement officers and prosecutors."

 

Judge Cook found that

(1) Ray was severely mentally ill and psychotic at the time of the interrogation.

(2) Sheriff Heiss and his deputies knew Ray was severely mentally ill, was on psychiatric medication, had been committed in the past, and was asking for the help of his ministers.

(3) Prosecutor Young, Assistant Prosecutor Gibson, and Sheriff Heiss knew Major Randy Vick was Ray’s chief spiritual advisor and Ray viewed Vick as his "helper."

(4) Sheriff Heiss, Prosecutor Young, Asst. Pros. Gibson recognized the potential legal conflict with Vick serving as interrogator.

(5) Prosecutor Young and Assistant Prosecutor. Gibson "intentionally sought to circumvent any possible claim [by Ray] of ministerial/penitent privilege by sending" another deputy into the interrogation room with Vick.

(6) Ray was never asked if he understood Vick’s role, and actually stated "Randy, I knew you’d come here to help me."

In the weeks prior to the homicides, Ray’s mental state greatly deteriorated. Ray and his wife sought medical help for Ray from a local Warrensburg mental health clinic 3 days before the homicides. The clinic sent them home with medication, and without a recommendation for hospitalization.

For almost 4 years, Ray has been hospitalized at Fulton State Mental Hospital under court order.

Procedural History: This case has not been to trial.

The trial court ruled in favor of the defendant’s suppression motion.

The state appealed the trial judge’s order suppressing an alleged statement made by the defendant at the time of his arrest.

The trial judge allowed a special appeal on the suppression issue.