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Man killed in self-defense in Augusta had recently been released from prison

Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013 7:34 PM
Last updated Sunday, Oct. 6, 2013 12:35 PM
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Within eight months of his release from prison under a medical reprieve, Willie Her­bert Casey Jr. attempted to commit the same crime that landed him a life sentence in the 1990s.


Casey was sentenced in the stabbing death of a man in downtown Augusta in 1991, and on Sept. 12 he showed up at a Hicks Street home and assaulted Michelle Hampton with a knife. He was killed by Hampton’s teenage son in what police ruled was self-defense.

Department of Corrections spokeswoman Gwendolyn Hogan said Casey was released from Augusta State Med­ical Prison in February under a medical reprieve. She could not discuss the nature or stage of his illness.

Like all reprieves, Casey’s came at the recommendation of his physician at the facility. The recommendation follows a series of steps until it’s passed along to the Board of Pardons and Paroles, which makes the final decision.

Weeks after his death, the Cor­rections Department still listed Casey as an “active” inmate on its Web site. Hogan said the department was in the process of correcting the information.

District Attorney Ashley Wright said close observation, such as parole, is the preferred method for an offender who re-enters the civilian world to gauge how closely they need to be supervised.

“But the reality is no one has a crystal ball,” she said. “The reality is that their decision to follow the law and not engage in further criminal history is their decision alone.”

According to a 2012 Asso­ciated Press report, Georgia corrections officials have doubled the number of medical reprieves since fiscal year 2008. Corrections Commissioner Brian Owens said in the article that the parole board was granting about 70 percent of medical reprieves, where five years earlier it was about 10 percent.

Officials said the additional reprieves shave millions of dollars off medical bills.

Eligible candidates are often incapacitated or have a life expectancy of less than a year, said state pardons Director Michael Nail.

He said the board considers the cost of keeping them behind bars, the response of the victims and prosecutors, the amount of time served and, most importantly, the likelihood a prisoner will commit another crime.

HOGAN WOULD NOT comment specifically on Casey’s case, citing health privacy laws.

Hampton said she didn’t know the man who banged on the door of her home around 3 a.m. Sept. 21 and hit her in the chest with what she described as a steak knife. She dodged the blow, which only grazed the skin, but the attack continued.

The next moments went by in a flash, she said, and ended with Casey dead from a gunshot wound.

Police said Hampton’s 17-year-old son, Anthony, shot Ca­sey and saved her life.

“He said, ‘Mama, I just couldn’t let that man hurt you,’ ” Hampton said. “I told him that was fine. Nobody would blame him for that.”

Hampton was held at the sheriff’s office for two days while police searched for her son, who fled the area after the shooting.

After finding and interviewing the teenager, police deemed the shooting self-defense and released his mother.

“I sure hate that’s got to be on his conscience for the rest of his life, but he did the same thing anyone else would do for their parent,” Hampton said.

Police have not released details on the shooting and said the findings are being sent to the district attorney’s office.

Hampton still doesn’t know what brought Casey to her door, but she suspects it could have been retaliation for a confrontation she had several months ago with a man who might be Casey’s nephew. With so many unanswered questions and a new fear of being alone, Hampton has decided to leave the Harrisburg home she and her son have shared for seven years.

“I haven’t been able to sleep,” she said. “I’ve got to find a new comfort zone.”

CASEY WAS 25 when he was arrested for the slaying of 28-year-old Carl Reid on Nov. 29, 1991.

Witnesses told police they were driving along Ninth Street when they witnessed an argument between Casey, who was wearing a distinct pair of yellow pants, and Reid on the side of the road. One of the witnesses yelled for them to stop and warned that the police were coming, according to information obtained from the district attorney’s office. Casey then pushed Reid down and struck him in the head and chest with a sharp object before walking away.

When police arrived, witnesses pointed out Casey, who was standing in a crowd of onlookers in the same distinct clothing.

A court-ordered psychiatrist found Casey mentally competent to stand trial despite his lawyer’s claims that he was schizophrenic, mentally retarded and had been receiving Social Security disability since 1986.

During an interview with the psychiatrist, Casey said he had been using drugs since age 9, spent hundreds of dollars daily on cocaine and was once treated for drug-induced psychosis.

A 1986 MENTAL evaluation included in Casey’s file said he was “very irritable and the slightest irritation will make him angry and want to fight people.” It also said Casey heard voices that told him to fight, had near-constant head pain, hallucinations and uncontrollable behavior at times.

In 1993, Casey was found guilty of felony murder and malice murder and sentenced to life.

He made a motion to appeal years later, saying there was no forensic evidence linking him to the slaying, but the motion was denied.

Casey’s 21-year-old son, also named Willie Herbert Casey, was facing murder charges when he hanged himself in his jail cell in 2008.

A 12-year-old who was also facing charges told police he went with Casey to collect a debt from 65-year-old Roosevelt Cowins, but after an argument, Casey shot Cowins several times in the back and chest.

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oldredneckman96 10/05/13 - 09:44 pm

District Attorney Ashley Wright said "no one has a crystal ball," we do not need one. The jury that put him in for life, had a complete real set of blueprints of the events and made the desision based on law. To have anyone second guess that and let a murder go for any reason much less for money is wrong on every level. But here is my question; why was Hampton held at the sheriff’s office for two days? Was she attacked or not? Was she held as hostage?

JRC2024 10/05/13 - 11:27 pm
Mrs. Hampton is a lucky woman

Mrs. Hampton is a lucky woman and her son was a brave young man. He should feel nothing for the criminal that attacked his mother. Bravo to you Mr. Hampton.

nocnoc 10/06/13 - 07:02 am
They do still put down a murder once in a whiledon't they?

So much is wrong about this parole case.

1st, AC readers had to wait, what 3+/- weeks for a reason behind the RCSO JUSTIFIED KILLING determination.

2nd Given quoted Parole comments,
We need to rewrite their guidelines for release. Money should never be the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd determining factor in a release of criminals serving time.

3rd Why are we releasing violent criminals to save $$$$, while the state wastes taxpayer $$$ on numerous, already uncovered, pocket line pockets.

It is also looking like we need:
to develop tighter guidelines of who can apply for a release and reduce the release point from 1 year, to a few months.
to develop tighter movement controls on those that are released.

nocnoc 10/06/13 - 07:13 am

Given the Article I have a few issues with the Parole Board:

A previous MENTAL evaluation concluded he was “very irritable and the slightest irritation will make him angry and want to fight people.” YET they released him even given he was in for MURDER?

Corrections Commissioner Brian Owens said in the article that the parole board was granting about 70 percent of medical reprieves, where five years earlier it was about 10 percent. What changed in the last 5 years? Is this a GA version of the Cuban Boat Lift and Castro emptying the prisons?

Officials said the additional reprieves shave millions of dollars off medical bills. $$$ is more important than public safety from a MURDER?, Maybe Obamacare will help here, IF they can sign them up?

We are told CRIMINALS who are medically released are often incapacitated, unlike this one , or have a life expectancy of less than a year.

Why does the Parole board even consider the cost of keeping them behind bars? $$$$ verses the impact on Public safety by allowing a mental case MURDERER one last stab at fame?

I think they need to start holding the violent criminals, until death has arrived knocking at their door.

avidreader 10/06/13 - 07:46 am
Rob Peter to Pay Paul!

Allowing a prisoner to be paroled for medical reasons is needless. The prison system saves millions of dollars, but those costs are surely passed on to another governmental system that cares for the indigent. Federal and state tax dollars are being shelled out no matter what. So, why not just let the terminally ill die in prison, unless a relative or long lost friend will pick up the medical tab.

seenitB4 10/06/13 - 08:43 am
How insane

Dump this man on the public because of his medical expenses...duuh...we all end up paying for them anyway....he almost killed another person..just insane!!

JRC2024 10/06/13 - 08:56 am
Do you really think anyone

Do you really think anyone cares if this man dies in prison. If he was very ill keep him comfortable with drugs but no other expenses.

rmwhitley 10/06/13 - 09:48 am
been on dem

sociable securities caused by self-induced drugs abuse. My,my,my. Ain't we jest the most socialized places in de world?

freeradical 10/06/13 - 10:42 am
Health Of The Prisoner

The revolving prisoner door is no mystery .

The United States has the largest convicted per capita criminal element

on the face of the earth .

Any excuse will do in this kind of an economic pinch .

" health of the prisoner " , "it's no longer a crime "

etc,etc,etc,& etc .

This is why when pointing to other nations , and the way they handle

other issues of the populace , it occurs to even the puddin headed

intellectuals that adding such a large criminal element into the mix

makes all the difference .

So they just pretend to ignore it .

The answer in their minds is to bump the revolving door up to

warp speed , and keep reporting that there is less crime than

ever , and that we are no different than any other nation in

terms of applying policy to the populace .

And promote that things are getting better all the time .

When in reality this land of the bloody tooth & claw is getting

bloodier with every passing day .

Is there any doubt this land is condemned ?

flcracker 10/06/13 - 11:59 am

Why was Michelle Hampton held for two days at the sheriff's office when she was the one that was attacked?

curly123053 10/06/13 - 01:54 pm
Lack of Justice!

I too wonder why Mrs Hampton was held 2 days and she was a victim of an assault?? Where is the rationale behind that conduct by the RCSO ?? There is none!! And for the Dept of Corrections.....a life sentence imposed by a jury and judge I thought meant--locked up until death do you part! There is a lot of wrongs in this case by those who are supposed to be upholding justice for us the law abiding citizens!

IBeDogGone 10/06/13 - 08:45 pm
Kudos to the Hamptons

I feel for you and your son and the unfortunate situation you found yourself in. I know this has not been easy for you and your son did the noble thing and protected his mother. I want to thank him for what the state should have taken care of years ago.

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