Family Fights to Keep Waconia Man Who Killed Parents in Security Hospital

Updated: 04/10/2015 10:28 AM
Created: 02/28/2014 5:41 PM
By: Tom Durian

The family of a Waconia man who brutally stabbed his parents to death in 1999 is fighting to keep him in a secure mental facility.

Richard Happ was found not guilty by reason of insanity after going to trial in a Carver County courtroom more than a decade ago. He has lived at the St. Peter Mental Hospital ever since.

In 2008, he was moved to a less-secure building at the facility. Now, the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) said he can be moved once more, this time to a state operated residential facility in West St. Paul.

Happ's family has opposed all of the moves to lesser-secured facilities, and they oppose the most recent one as well.

Friday, Happ's brother David and his cousin Dean Stuewe testified on behalf of Carver County in front of three state Supreme Court appellate judges in Dakota County. Carver County attorneys have led the fight all along to keep Happ in a secure facility, due in part to his family’s fear.

"Everybody has been on edge knowing that this day might come, where he will be released back into the public," Happ's brother David said in court today. “At some point he is going to get a full discharge and he might not take his medicine and we've seen the devastation that can happen."

Friday's hearing was cut short and continued to August.

In the meantime, the DHS review board will take another look at Happ's case and include new findings from the last doctor to evaluate Happ. If the board still upholds their decision to move Happ to a less secure facility, the appeals process will start back up again.

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