A mentally ill man who brutally murdered his mother and stepfather 30 years ago claims that he has been cured of schizophrenia and will not be a danger to society if he is released from jail.
52-year-old Richard Spillane of Ho-Ho-Kus, N.J., was just 23 years old when he murdered his 64-year-old mother and 74-year-old stepfather and dumped their bodies in New York’s Harriman State Park. Police found the couple’s bodies a month after the murder took place, and Spillane, who had originally reported to police that they went missing, was arrested and charged with the murders.
Nearly 30 years later, Spillane says that he has been taking anti-psychosis medications for a long time and no longer hears voices in his head.
“I’m horrified and repulsed by the crimes now,” said Spillane in a recent interview. “At the time when I was planning the crimes, I thought I’d have a party when I was done — you know, drink some beer and have a great time. But it was horrible and horrendous, and that’s been emphasized to me over the years.”
During the 1986 trial, doctors diagnosed Spillane with paranoid schizophrenia, and the sick man was sentenced to two concurrent 30-year sentences. Spillane’s remaining family, including his sister, have all lived in fear of him in the years since the murders, and some have even moved away and changed their names in anticipation of his one day being released.
“I’ve been locked up for so many years that it must scare every person that gets released after that much time,” said Spillane. “I realize the significance of what I’ve done and people are scared. I realize they might want to keep a tight leash on me for a while.”
For now, the man’s parole hearing is scheduled for May 5, and a board will determine if he still poses a threat to society. It’s possible that if he is released, he will be required to spend months in a psychiatric facility.