A man who has spent the last 16 years confined in a hospital for killing his parents could be released soon, and his family are not happy.
Richard Happ has been in the Minnesota Security Hospital in St. Peter since he was 30-years-old, WCCO reports, after he stabbed his parents to death with a butcher knife in their home in Waconia in March 1999.
He was diagnosed with schizophrenia, but could not be moved to a lower-security, residential facility in West St. Paul after making progress, the station notes.
KSTP says that the move has not been welcomed by Happ's family, including his brother David, whom Happ also tried to kill, and who has testified on behalf of Carver County against his release to a residential facility.
He told KSTP in February: "Everybody has been on edge knowing that this day might come, where he will be released back into the public. 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."
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The Carver County Attorney's Office has repeatedly fought attempts to move Happ to lower-security facilities.
In 2008, it appealed a decision by the three judge Supreme Court Appeal Panel to allow Happ to be transferred to the less secure Forensic Transitions Unit in St. Peter, and also successfully fought a bid to move Happ from the Minnesota Security Hospital just three years after the killings.
"My job is to protect the public. We’ve fought to keep Happ in a secure setting because he is violent and dangerous," Carver County Attorney Jim Keeler said in 2008.
The Star Tribune notes that Happ's family objected to a similar attempt last year to move him to a residential hospital facility.