Man Who Claimed 'Wheel of Fortune' Told Him to Kill Mom Found Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity

Derrick Williams’s 20-year history of mental illness included a diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder and depression, as well as problems with delusions and paranoid thoughts
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An Ohio man who was said to believe he received messages from Wheel of Fortune to kill his mother before he beat the elderly woman to death has been found not guilty by reason of insanity.

Derrick Williams, 48, reportedly thought his mother, 78-year-old Alaine Williams, was using witchcraft on him when he attacked her with a lead pipe in their shared Akron home in December 2016, the Akron Beacon Journal reported.

The attack was so brutal that Alaine Williams was unrecognizable to her daughter, who discovered her on the kitchen floor on the evening of Dec. 15, after she was unable to reach her mother by phone.

“He’s mental,” the woman said of her brother in a call to 911. “I told her not to let him stay here.”

Derrick Williams’s 20-year history of mental illness included a diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder and depression, as well as problems with delusions and paranoid thoughts, the Beacon Journal reported.

He was off his medication when he began believing Wheel of Fortune host Pat Sajak wanted him to kill his mother, his attorney Brian Pierce said.

When Sajak apparently said “do it,” during an episode of the game show, Williams took it to mean he should kill his mother.

After he and his mother got into an argument, Williams beat her in the head with a pipe. During the attack, Williams thought he saw the head of his neighbor’s dog on his mother’s body, Pierce reportedly said.

“He clearly was psychotic,” Pierce said.

This was not the first time Williams had acted violently against his mother.

In 2006, Williams was committed to Northcoast Behavioral Healthcare System after attacking his mother a year earlier. He was found not guilty by reason of insanity, according to the Beacon Journal.

In 2008, he was moved to a group home, where he remained under the supervision of Cuyahoga County for the maximum time period of eight years. When he was released from supervision, he moved back in with his mother.  

Williams was again found not guilty of by reason of insanity Thursday and will have a commitment hearing on Jan. 18.

A not guilty by reason of insanity plea is used in less than 1 percent of felony cases nationwide, according to the Beacon Journal.

In Summit County, Williams is the second defendant to be found not guilty by reason of insanity in the past year.

Dee’Andra McGhee drove herself and her 2-year-old daughter into Summit Lake on July 4 after reportedly hearing voices that someone was going to harm them. The pair was rescued by two men who saw what happened, the Beacon Journal reported.

McGhee was declared not guilty by reason of insanity in May.

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