University Stands by Professor Who Shot Parents, Sister

Millikin University is standing by one of its professors even after learning that as a teenager, he shot his parents and sister, then changed his name. Dr. James St. James is chair of the Department of Behavior Sciences, and he joined the faculty in 1986. In 1967, St. James – then named James Gordon Wolcott – used a .22 rifle in Texas to kill his mother, father, and sister after sniffing airplane glue. He admitted to planning the murders a week in advance. The jury found him not guilty by reason of insanity, and he spent six years being treated for paranoid schizophrenia. He then changed his name and began his life anew.

In 1997, St. James won the university’s Teaching Excellence and Leadership Award. The university has refused to fire him, explaining, “Millikin University has only recently been made aware of Dr. James St. James’ past. Given the traumatic experiences of his childhood, Dr. St. James’ efforts to build his life and obtain a successful professional career have been remarkable. The university expects Dr. St. James to teach at Millikin this fall.” 



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