In 1967, many of the teens and young adults were getting caught up in the anti-war, hippie, free love, drug movement that was sweeping the nation. Boys let their hair grow long as a form of rebellion against their parents and the establishment. Sexual morality flew out the window as slogans like ‘make love not war’ became popular. Marijuana, LCD and other hallucinatory drugs became the rage and in some it fueled their rage.
In 1967, Georgetown, Texas was a small town of about 5,000 just north of Austin. Fifteen year old James Wolcott was one of the teenagers caught up in the fads of the time. He grew his hair, wore anti-Vietnam War buttons, and was addicted to sniffing airplane glue. His parents told him to cut his hair and they refused to let him wear his anti-war buttons or attend a peace rally.
On Aug 4, 1967, Wolcott sniffed his glue to get high and to give him the courage to take a .22 caliber rifle, walk up to his dad in the living room and shoot him two times in the chest. Next he entered the bedroom of his 17 year old sister and shot her once in the chest. After she fell to the floor, he shot her again in the face. The rifle shots woke his mom who called out from her bedroom. Wolcott then turned his rifle on his mom and shot her twice.
Wolcott readily admitted to the shootings and told police that he was angry with his parents. He pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity due to his sniffing airplane glue. Believe it or not, he was found not guilty by reason of insanity and spent six years in a mental hospital.
Upon his release, James Wolcott changed his name to James St. James and supposedly turned his life around. Now, at age 61, Wolcott/St. James is a professor and chairman of the psychology department at Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois. His murderous secret lay hidden for 46 years until it was unearthed by a reporter. When confronted with his gruesome past, Wolcott/St. James admitted that he had indeed killed his parents and sister.
Once the news came out, there were numerous calls for his resignation or termination. Even the mayor of Decatur publicly called for the professor to resign. However, the university and those who say they’ve known him for the past few decades are standing beside him.
Wolcott/St. James’ supporters say that he completely turned his life around and is nothing like the 15 year old drug crazed boy from 46 years ago. Yet, he still looks and acts like a 61 year old hippie, so evidently he hasn’t changed all that much. When the doctor who declared the teenager insane, Dr Douglas M Benold (Ret) was told of Wolcott’s current situation, he replied:
“I think that’s wonderful, if it’s for real. Knowing his background, I’m glad he’s there instead of in Georgetown.”
Notice Benold said if it’s for real and that he was glad that Wolcott/St. James was not living in Georgetown. He clearly has questions as to the man’s sanity, which leads me to ask if any of you would want your impressionable college age children to sit in his class and be schooled by him?
I question whether Wolcott was insane at the time of the murders or not. In some of the articles I read about Wolcott’s case, they stated that he had planned the killing of his parents and that he sniffed the glue just prior to the shootings to give him the courage to carry it through. This to me does not sound like he was insane at the time. Rather it sounds more like it was premeditated murder which in Texas could mean the death penalty. This concerns me more knowing that he got away with three murders and could possibly try to do so again.
My other question is did he falsify his personal information when he applied for the job at the university? Most employers ask if you’ve ever been charged with or convicted of a felony. If Milliken University had that question on their employment application and they say they knew nothing of his violent background, then that alone is reason to terminate him and indicate that he is not honest or trustworthy enough to teach college students.
I know of people who have turned their lives around, but I also have heard of many who said they have and then something happens and SNAP, they suddenly revert back and repeat their past mistakes. Has James Wolcott/St. James truly changed and turned his life around? I don’t know. If he was able to hide that part of his past from everyone, has he hidden other things from his past from them as well?
As a parent of a college student, are you willing to take that chance?