In another life, Dr. James St. James was a 15-year-old boy from Georgetown, Texas who confessed to killing his family in 1967. Then named James Gordon Wolcott, the boy walked investigators through the grisly details of the killings, telling them that he used a .22-caliber rifle to shoot and kill his father and then his mother and 17-year-old sister.
After being found not guilty by reason of mental illness, Wolcott was sentenced to a state hospital for an undetermined amount of time. Just six years later, though, a hospital administrator wrote a letter to the local District Attorney and, after a competency hearing, a jury took less than 10 minutes to declare Wolcott sane. He was a free man.
Fast forward a GED, a name change, a bachelor's degree, a master's degree, a Ph.D. in psychology, and 40 years later, and James Gordon Wolcott is Dr. James St. James, an associate professor of psychology at Millikin University in Illinois.
When a recent article published by the Georgetown Advocate connected Dr. St. James and James Gordon Wolcott, Millikin University stood behind Dr. St. James.
On Thursday, as politicians clamor for Millikin to fire Dr. St. James, The Daily Beast published a lengthy plea from Joelle Charbonneau, a writer who took two of his classes as an undergraduate at Millikin. She hopes that Dr. St. James can keep his job and that the situation demonstrates for people what happens when the system actually rehabilitates someone.