Brave Mother Fights off Psychotic Psychiatrist
The Entire Unprovoked Attack Was Caught on Tape
By CHRIS FRANCESCANI and LAURA E. DAVIS
July 26, 2007 --
Manhattan's famed district attorney's office the model for "Law & Order" is fighting to keep a "dangerously mentally ill" psychiatrist locked up, after he admitted to attacking a 2-year-old boy and then choking his terrified mother unconscious, according to a spokeswoman for the district attorney.
The attack was caught by a surveillance camera and prosecutors this week used a PowerPoint presentation of images from the assault to bolster their case.
"We are arguing that [the attacker] is dangerously mentally ill and needs to be in a secure facility," Barbara Thompson, spokeswoman for veteran Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau, told ABC News' Law & Justice Unit.
William Johns III, a bipolar Florida psychiatrist who has a history of alcohol problems and violence, admitted in court papers that he drove to New York last summer to escape evil "forces" that he believed were chasing him, Thompson said.
In testimony Wednesday, a friend of the psychiatrist reportedly told a judge that Johns said he had to go to New York to "get out of 'The Truman Show'" a reference to a 1998 Jim Carrey movie in which the lead character doesn't realize that he's the star of a wildly popular television show and that his friends and neighbors are all actors in the show.