Woods to remain in institution

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 1, 2005

A man who killed his aunt, but was found not guilty by reason of insanity, will not be released just eight months after his trial.

Judge Jack Meigs ruled against David Woods’ release last week, after doctors from Taylor Hardin requested that he be moved to a group home in Selma.

Woods was found not guilty by reason of insanity in the September killing of his aunt after voices told him she was a man.

He was sentenced to Taylor Hardin, a secure mental institution in Tuscaloosa, for treatment.

On Tuesday, May 17, Woods’ doctor and treatment team filed a request with Meigs to release him to a group home run by Cahaba Mental Health.

The home, located behind Wal-Mart, just off Highland Avenue, would have served as a halfway point for Woods, who would later be released fully.

Woods, according to court records, killed his aunt, the 86-year-old Willie Mae Woods after voices told him that she was a threat to his well-being. He shot her at close range.

While at Taylor Hardin, Woods was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, a disease characterized by fits of depression and hallucinations, according to the American Phsyciatric Web site.

While he was in Taylor Hardin, Woods treated by a team of specialists, including Dr. Patricia Pilkinton who testified for Woods release.

James Reddoch at Taylor Hardin said that Woods probably wouldn’t be a danger, and that the hospital had a strict process for requesting a patient’s release.

Reddoch said that any patient who came to Taylor Hardin had to be treated by a team of specialists, including therapists and a social worker.

After the team agrees that a patient is well enough, a request is filed with the hospital. Other hospital staffers review the request, none of which are affiliated with the patient’s treatment, to be sure that the patient won’t be a danger to the community and that treatment was as complete as possible.

According to Reddoch, the process will continue, as the hospital’s 114 beds are constantly in demand for psychiatric review and treatment for every insanity case in the state.

District Attorney Michael Jackson said his office didn’t want to see Woods released at all, and that they were pleased with the hearing.

“My staff and I will do whatever we can to make sure murderers are not released back into our society,” he said.