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home : news : north central illinois   May 26, 2016

11/15/2013 10:03:00 PM
Ottawa killer to be moved into 'integrated living' facility

Tom Collins
NewsTribune Senior Reporter

OTTAWA — Ottawa killer Ryan Hayes will be transferred again, this time to an “integrated living facility” in northwest Chicago where he will be closely supervised.

Hayes, 33, formerly of Ottawa was not present in court Friday for the brief hearing in which Judge Cynthia M. Raccuglia approved an agreed order. Under the agreement, Hayes will have an apartment and “slightly more freedom,” as his lawyer put it, while continuing to receive psychiatric treatment under assorted conditions.

Hayes’ lawyer Fred Morelli further described the new conditions as a “mostly supervised setting,” and that Hayes had made good progress recovering from a serious psychiatric disorder.

“It’s a long, slow process, which is what I expected it would be,” Morelli said. “But Ryan continues to make progress and continues to be compliant with his treatment and with his medication.”

Hayes was charged with first-degree murder in 2001 after he stabbed his friend, 24-year-old Richard Schultz of Ottawa, to death while the two were riding in a car. Hayes told police that voices in his head warned him that Schultz would try to kill him.

At a bench trial held later that year, Hayes was ruled not guilty by reason of insanity. Court-appointed psychiatrists diagnosed him with a schizo-affective disorder, a serious mental disorder characterized by paranoia, psychosis and depression.

The insanity verdict meant a trip not to prison but to a locked psychiatric facility where Hayes could have remained for the rest of his life. Morelli said Hayes deteriorated in his first few years in state custody, but then showed marked improvement around 2008 following a change in medication and therapy.

His improved condition led authorities to gradually relax his supervision and confinement.

In 2011, he was released from a locked psychiatric hospital and into what Morelli then described as a “halfway house” for the mentally ill.

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