Minn. man who killed parents could be released from security hospital soon

Published 3:41 pm Saturday, April 11, 2015

ST. PAUL — A Minnesota man who fatally stabbed his parents 16 years ago is expected to be released from a state hospital soon.

A state panel has approved the release of Richard Happ from Minnesota Security Hospital in St. Peter to a residential facility in West St. Paul. That could happen as soon as next week.

The 46-year-old Happ fatally stabbed Richard and Angela Happ with a butcher knife in their Waconia home in March 1999. Authorities say he also tried to kill his brother. He was found not guilty by reason of mental illness by a judge in 2000.

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Happ was diagnosed with schizophrenia and was committed as mentally ill and dangerous. State social service officials say Happ has made progress and has been allowed to leave the hospital unsupervised for four hours every day.

Carver County Attorney Mark Metz and Happ’s family have repeatedly opposed his release. Happ’s cousin, Dean Stuewe, said he has stayed in contact with him and opposes his release, and that he plans to meet with Happ to urge he stays away from Carver County. Happ has told Metz and Stuewe he wouldn’t go there.

“A lot of people in Waconia would be really scared if Richard showed up their front door,” Stuewe said. “Richard is safer in St. Peter, and we think society is safer with him in St. Peter.”

The panel of three district court judges was appointed by the state Supreme Court to review Carver County’s appeal. They said Happ’s time unsupervised in the community has gone without incident, and that he “has demonstrated an ability to independently manage his symptoms . (and) is capable of making an acceptable adjustment to open society.”

Metz said he has no plans to appeal the panel’s decision.

Happ said he no longer suffers from violent delusions, and that he has learned how to deal with hallucinations. Conditions for his release include complying with drug prescription and not having any “dangerous instruments” such as guns or knives. He’s also being assigned a county social worker.