- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 25, 2000

The mental condition of accused cop killer Russell Eugene Weston Jr. has deteriorated so much that he now believes he is commander of the world's armies, testimony in federal court shows.

Weston appeared in U.S. District Court yesterday on the second anniversary of the killing of two U.S. Capitol Police officers whom he is accused of shooting to death when he forced his way into the building.

Weston has said he was trying to regain control of a time machine he invented. Capitol Police Officers Jacob J. Chestnut, 58, and John M. Gibson, 42, were gunned down when Weston, armed with a revolver, stormed the Capitol on July 24, 1998.

U.S. District Court Judge Emmit G. Sullivan yesterday opened a second round of hearings to determine whether Weston, a diagnosed schizophrenic, should be forcibly medicated to become competent to stand trial.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ordered the new hearings in March when it overturned Judge Sullivan's order to force Weston to be medicated.

Weston, who was wounded in the right arm and left leg by Officer Gibson during the shootout, for the first time was able to walk into the courtroom aided only with a walker.

As in previous hearings the officers' widows, Evelyn Gibson and Wen-long Chestnut, sat in the front row of the courtroom. The widows declined to discuss Weston not facing a trial in the two years since their husbands were killed.

Sally Johnson, chief psychiatrist and associate warden of the Federal Correctional Institution at Butner, N.C., testified yesterday that Weston's condition had gotten much worse and that he cannot make a decision on his medical treatment.

"He needs to be treated with anti-psychotic medicines to restore his competency," Dr. Johnson said. "He has no ability to recover without treatment."

Dr. Johnson said Weston must be isolated from other patients and watched 24 hours a day to protect himself and other patients at Butner, adding that constant seclusion has done nothing to improve his mental health.

"He has derived no benefit other than he is alive," Dr. Johnson said.

She said he continues to suffer from delusions, such as believing he is a world leader who can save the world from corrupt politicians.

Penny Royall, a physical therapist at Butner, said she believes Weston threatened her when he refused physical therapy by claiming he was the leader of the world's armies.

"He said, 'I am commander in chief of the world's armies. You can't touch me,' " she said. "He was refusing to cooperate in physical therapy that is a benefit to him. I do not believe Mr. Weston is capable of making a competent decision."

During cross-examination by Weston's attorney, A.J. Kramer, Dr. Johnson testified that Weston's mental illness began to escalate in 1992 and worsened in 1996, when he had to be hospitalized. She testified that in the weeks before the slaying of the two officers, his family had seen Weston becoming more irrational.

Mr. Kramer quizzed her on whether she thought Weston believed he knew President Kennedy, President Clinton, worked for the CIA and NASA and had invented the Ruby Satellite System, a time machine he claimed to have invented.

"This is part of his delusional belief system," Dr. Johnson said. "I have no doubt he believes it was fact."

But Dr. Johnson said that without further testing she cannot determine whether Weston was insane when he shot the two officers.

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