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of the soldier assigned to a nearby post, went to the soldier who was to be relieved, told him he was relieving him, and received from him ammunition for his rifle. He then went outside and almost immediately thereafter shot and killed a soldier against whom he had a grudge. When William D. Dyer and Nelson Hawkins, upon hearing the shot, came to the door of their office, he fired again and fatally wounded Mr. Hawkins. The bullet passed through Mr. Hawkins' boly and struck and seriously injured Mr. Dyer. He next shot and killed another soldier, who may have advanced to disarm him.
The report of the War Department reveals that Private Adkin was adjudged to be insane at the time of the offense and, also, at a later examination. That it is clear from the evidence that the death of Mr. Hawkins and the personal injury to Mr. Dyer was not due to any fault or negligence on their part, but from the negligence of responsible military personnel in permitting Private Adkins, who previously had shown evidence of insanity, and who at the time was known to his immediate superior to be under the influence of intoxicants, to accompany soldiers while posting guards and in failing to maintain proper control over him.
The War Department would interpose no objection to the enactment of the legislation with amendments authorizing the payment to William Dyer of the sum of $4,000 ($1,190.40 for medical and hospital expenses and losses sustained as a result of his injury, $449.50 for estimated future medical and hospital expenses, and $2,360.10 for personal injury).
Therefore, your committee recommend that the bill be favorably considered, as amended.
The facts are fully set forth in the report of the War Department, which is appended, along with other pertinent evidence.
Washington, March 6, 1944. Hon. Dan R. McGEHEE, Chairman, Committee on Claims,
House of Representatives. DEAR MR. McGEHEE: The War Department is opposed to the enactment of H. R. 3280 and H. R. 3281, Seventy-eighth Congress, in their present forms. H. R. 3280 would authorize and direct the Secretary of the Treasury to pay the sum of $10,000 to William Dyer, of Windham, Maine, in full settlement of all claims against the United States for damages suffered by him, in Portland, Maine, on November 23, 1942, when he was negligently shot and severely wounded by a soldier of the United States Army, while on guard duty in said Portland; the said Dyer having been at all times without fault and in the exercise of due care. H. R. 3281 would authorize and direct the Secretary of the Treasury to pay the sum of $10,000 to Margaret L. Hawkins, of Westbrook, Maine, dependent daughter of Nelson Hawkins, deceased, in full settlement of all claims against the United States for damages suffered by her as the result of the death of her father, caused in Portland, Maine, on November 23, 1942, when he was shot to death by a soldier of the United States Army, while on guard duty in said Portland.
The Department, however, would interpose no objection to the enactment of these bills if H. R. 3280 should be so amended as to pay to William Dyer the sum of $4,000, and if H. R. 3281 should be so amended as to pay the sum of $5,359 to the administrator of the estate of Nelson Hawkins, deceased.
On November 23, 1942, at about 6:30 p. m., William D. Dyer, of Windham, Maine, and Nelson Hawkins, of Westbrook, Maine, both employees of the Portland Gas Light Co., Portland, Maine, were in the office of the gas plant, a few yards from the guardhouse used by soldiers guarding the gas works and other
installations in the vicinity. At about the same time Pvt. Charles Adkins, Three Hundred and Sixty-sixth Infantry, arrived at the guardhouse in a truckload of soldiers who were to relieve the guard. It appears that Private Adkins had not on this occasion been ordered to duty as one of the guards but, being a member of the detachment normally assigned to this duty, had been brought along in the truck. When the truck stopped near the guardhouse Private Adkins jumped out ahead of the soldier assigned to a nearby post, went to the soldier who was to be relieved, told him that he was relieving him, and received from him the ammunition for his rifle. He then went outside and almost immediately thereafter shot and killed a soldier against whom he had a grudge. When William D. Dyer and Nelson Hawkins, upon hearing the shot, came to the door of their office, he fired again and fatally wounded Mr. Hawkins. The bullet passed through Mr. Hawkins' body and struck and seriously injured Mr. Dyer. He next shot and killed another soldier, who may have advanced to disarm him.
Private Adkins was tried by general court martial on December 8, 1942, and January 5, 1943, on the charges of violation of the ninety-second article of war, three specifications thereunder alleging three separate offenses of murder, and also of violation of the ninety-third article of war, one specification thereunder alleging assault with intent to commit murder. The issue of sanity of the accused having been raised by the appointing authority before trial, a board of three medical officers, who were specialists in mental diseases, was appointed to inquire into and report on the accused's mental condition. On December 21, 1942, the board made the following findings:
"1. That Private Adkins is suffering from a mental disease with mental deficiency; and that this condition probably existed prior to induction into the Army.
"2. That he was insane at the time of the offense on November 23, 1942, and that he is insane at the time of this examination.
.“3. That his mental condition made him particularly subject to outbursts of rage and irrational behavior when under the influence of alcohol.
"4. That his condition is permanent and progressive.
“5. That he is dangerous to himself and to others, and should be committed to a hospital for mental diseases."
After presentation to the court of the report of the board of medical officers and after the court had heard the testimony of the members of the board, the law member of the court ruled that the accused was insane then and at the time of the commission of the offenses charged, which ruling, after objection by a member of the court, was sustained by a vote of the court in closed session, and the proceedings were thereupon discontinued. Private Adkins thereafter was placed in confinement in a penal institution for insane criminals and discharged from the Army.
It was disclosed by the evidence of record that Private Adkins had been drinking during the afternoon prior to the commission of the offenses in question, and that at the time of committing such offenses he was still under the influence of liquor. In this connection, the corporal of the guard who had charge of the detail when it was taken to the gas plant for the purpose of relieving the old guard testified on November 23, 1942, before the State's attorney for Cumberland County, Maine, as follows:
“Q. Did Charles Adkins report with others tonight to go on duty?--A. No, he wasn't to go on; he was just coming down with us.
“Q. Do you know how he came by a gun?-A. Know what?
"Q. Do you know how he got the rifle that he had?-A. They all have rifles, you see. "Q. He didn't have a rifle when he came down in the truck?-A. Yes, sir. "Q. Was it loaded or unloaded?-A. It was unloaded.
"O. Do you know where he got the shells?--A. Well, he got them from No. 3 post, which he wasn't supposed to go to.
"Q. You mean that, without any authority from you or anyone under your direction, he reported to post No. 3?--A. That is right.
"Q. Did you have any occasion to converse with Adkins before he went on duty without your permission?-A. Yes, sir. I told him he should not go on now.
"Q. How did you happen to tell him that?-A. He asked me did he go on. I told him no, he didn't go.
"Q. In spite of that, he did go on?--A. Yes, sir.
“Q. Had Adkins been drinking to your knowledge?-A. Well, he looked to me as if he had been drinking. I couldn't say for certain.
“Q. He looked to you as though he had been drinking?-A. Yes.
"Q. What is your opinion as to what his condition was when he came down there, that he was sober or somewhat under the influence?-A. That he had been drinking. I wouldn't say he was drunk.
"Q. I don't mean that. Naturally he could walk. Would you say he was sober and fit to go on duty?-A. No. I wouldn't have put him on duty in that condition, but he went on, anyway. If he wanted to go on, I wouldn't put him on in that condition.
"Q. You mean his condition was such that he wasn't sober enough to go on duty with a gun?-A. That is right.
"Q. You believe, then, do you, that he was somewhat under the influence of liquor?-A. No doubt, in my opinion."
With respect to the mental condition of Private Adkins, Capt. Max E. Witte, Medical Corps, president of the medical board, who was assistant superintendent of the Bangor State Hospital prior to his entry into the military service on January 15, 1942, testified during the trial of the accused in part as follows:
?Q. This insanity of the accused you speak of, has it a name or type of insanity?-A. No; it isn't crystallized enough for that. It is a mental disease coming on, on the basis of a feeble-mindedness or mental deficiency. It is definite but the symptoms don't fall into any particular group.
“Q. As to the insanity of this man, the accused, is he insane without alcohol?_ A. I would say that he showed some mental symptoms even without the alcohol.
"Q. Captain, regardless of alcohol in this man's system, is this man suffering from a mental defect, such as feeble-mindedness, as you stated, and insanity? A. Yes.
“Q. From your own examination of the accused, do you state that he has a mentality of a 7-year old person?-A. That examination was done by Sergeant Brandes.
"Q. I appreciate that. I am asking you, Captain, if you by your own examination of the accused have determined any mental age of this accused?-A. I would feel that is probably a little too low. I think I would say his mental age would probably be about 10.
“Q. Captain, calling your attention to your report and to a previous answer made to me on the question of alcoholism, bearing upon the accused's sanity, is this man sane; without the use of alcohol is he sane?--A. No, no.
"Q. When you say 'No, the man is not sane,' do you mean that he is insane? A. Yes.
“Q. Is this accused any more than abnormal in the sense that he possesses intelligence below that of a normal person?-A. Yes, yes. Besides being feeble minded or mentally defective, this man has developed a mental disease on top of that, and that is what causes most of the trouble-most of his mental difficulty.
"Q. Is it significant to you in any way that no action of any character had been taken relative to the accused that you say is insane, prior to his difficulty?-A. I think he should have had an examination, psychiatric examintion, prior to this thing.
"Q. With the exception of what the company officers told you regarding the fights, I believe, that he had, once when he grabbed a knife, and once when he grabbed a gun when he had been drinking, did you have any other objective symptoms to indicate his insanity?-A. His seclusiveness in the company, his walking around as if in a dream, his brooding constantly, not associating with most of the men in his company; he was careless about his appearance.
“Q. In the absence of what the accused told you regarding the hearing of voices and seeing visions of shadows and things, would you have been satisfied that the accused was insane?-A. I would have been very suspicious of it from what the company commanders told me about him."
The board of medical officers appointed to inquire into the mental condition of Private Adkins in a statement dated December 15, 1942, said:
“Captain *, commanding officer of Company A, Three hundred sixtysixth Infantry, was interviewed and gave the following information: “Captain
states that Adkins was a very quiet boy who appeared to have a mental age of 10 to 11. He always gave the impression that something was worrying him. He used to walk around with his head down looking at the ground. When he was going out he would dress up but then as he walked off, he would have his head down. He was not of the jolly or laughing type. He usually seemed to go around by himself. Once, the latter part of September, Adkins seemed to go out of his head. Perhaps he wasn't exactly out of his head, but this is what happened. He had been at a bar and had a couple of glasses of beer and came out of the bar with a knife in his hand apparently about to attack several people. The first sergeant, Caeser, was present and stopped Adkins by knocking him out. He fell on the street and got a bump on his head. He was taken to the station hospital, Fort Williams, Maine. The following morning Captain asked Adkins what he remembered about the incident and Adkins said that he couldn't remember anything about it except that he had a couple of glasses of beer. Captain
confiscated the knife. This incident happened about September 27th or 28th
On November 30, 1943, the claims officer who investigated this case made the following statement concerning the injuries sustained by Mr. Dyer and the expenses incurred by him as a result thereof:
"Dyer was in great pain and was taken to the Maine General Hospital where he remained for 16 weeks. There were 11 perforations in his intestines and an operation was performed to suture these wounds and to remove a portion of the intestine entirely. As a result of his hospitalization, Mr. Dyer had the following expenses: Dr. Branhall..
$5. 00 Dr. Parker.
272. 00 Dr. Thaxter (X-ray)
15. 00 Dr. Blackwell (belt)
5. 85 Maine General Hospital.
212. 55 Nurses...
630. 40 “None of the above expenses have been paid for by Mr. Dyer, but his employers, the Portland Gas Light Co., paid the nursing bill of $120.
"In addition to paying the nursing bill, the Portland Gas Light Co. paid to Mr. Dyer his salary of $44.20 for the period of his illness, that is, from the 23d of November 1942 to the 11th of February 1943, and also paid him his salary for absenses totaling 12/2 days between the 11th of February 1943 and the date of this statement, which absences were due to continuing ill health of Mr. Dyer as a result of the shooting. The total thus paid by his employer is the sum of $592.90 for wages and $120 for nurses, or a total of $712.90.
“Mr. Dyer finds that he has not yet recovered from the effects of the shooting and suffers from severe abdominal cramps. He is acutely uncomfortable unless he restricts himself to a particularly bland diet and unless he regularly uses mineral oil. Attached hereto is a copy of a letter from his principal physician, Dr. Parker, from which it appears that a second operation to correct an obstruction is necessary before Mr. Dyer can expect complete recovery. The expenses for the second operation are estimated by Dr. Parker as follows: Room rate, $5.50 a day for 3 weeks..
$115. 50 Operating room.
10. 00 Anesthesia
5. 00 Laboratory
15. 00 Surgical supplies.
20. 00 Nurses board, 4 days, at $1.75 per day.
7. 00 Nurses, day and night, 4 days at $8 per day
64. 00 Operating fee..
150. 00 21 days hospital care $3 per day
"Mr. Dyer claims that as a result of his being confined to the hospital he lost 12 pigs on his farm from lack of the care which he would have been able to furnish, which he valued at $25 each—a total of $300. He also was compelled to and did pay for labor on his farm which he would have been able to perform himself had it not been for this accident; those payments total $260.
"It is expected that the length of time that Mr. Dyer will be laid up in the event of the second operation above referred to will be approximately 13 weeks, during which time in addition to the expenses above set forth, he will lose wages at the rate of $44.20 per week plus an undetermined item for labor on his farm.
“There had been no quarrel of any sort between Pvt. Charles Adkins and Mr. Dyer or with Nelson Hawkins or any other official of the Portland Gas Light Co., and the shooting was entirely unprovoked and in no sense was it due to any act or omission of William D. Dyer."
The above-mentioned letter of Dr. James M. Parker, Portland, Maine, addressed to Mr. Dyer, which is undated, reads in part as follows:
"Pursuant to our conversation I am writing to give you an evaluation of your recent physical status and as nearly as possible the anticipated expenses which would be incurred by the surgery which I think you ought to have done.
"Your persistent symptoms of episodes of abdominal cramps whenever you deviate from a very restricted bland diet and the findings of a gastro-intestinal series which was done in March, indicate clearly that you have a persistent partial small bowel obstruction. To get back to a normal life and eating habits consistent with active physical work this obstruction should be relieved surgically.
"I'm inclosing figures which I obtained from the hospital covering expected hospital expenses for 3 weeks hospitalization in semiprivate (small ward) accommodations taking into consideration all expenses associated with surgical procedure including operating room charge, anesthesia, laboratory, surgical supplies and special nursing for 4 days which might be necessary.
“Besides this my surgical fee would be $150 for operating plus $3 a day for hospital care. I expect that you will pass this information on to the proper authorities for your claim on the Government for a gunshot wound sustained November 23, 1942."
The figures referred to by Dr. Parker in the third paragraph of his letter are itemized in the above-quoted report of the claims officer. On November 27, 1943, Mr. Dyer submitted the following sworn statement:
on Monday, November 23, 1942, I went to my work at 3 o'clock in the afternoon for the Portland Gas Light Co. and at their plant located at 40 West Commercial Street at Portland, county of Cumberland and State of Maine. I remained at my work until about 7 o'clock that same night and I went up to the office to read the barometer and the foreman, Nelson Hawkins and also Del Fay and we were talking and we heard this shot outside and Hawkins went out and opened the gate and two Negroes in United States Army uniform were standing there and the one that had the gun turned around and shot and the shot went through Hawkins and into me. We were still on the premises of the Portland Gas Light Co., at the time of the shooting. We were all three together and I happened to be a foot or two behind Hawkins and Fay was to the right of me. None of us said a word. We were instructed by the foreman, Nelson Hawkins, that we were to open the gate and let the United States Army men who were on guard, to come in at any time, which had been our practice at all times and we had never had any arguments with any of the United States soldiers. After we were shot, Hawkins turned and went down the steps and stayed there until the ambulance came and picked him up. I went over to where Hawkins was and these terrible cramps affected me and I went to the office and lay down on the floor until they took me to the hospital where I was operated on and remained there weeks. At the present time, I am physically unable to do the work I could formerly do and my doctors advise me that I must have another operation which is very serious and I must have constant medication at all times. At the time of the shooting, I had done nothing that would cause the soldier to shoot me and I was on the property of my employer where I was expected to be.”'
On the same date, November 27, 1943, Mr. Dyer made another sworn statement, which reads as follows:
"Personally appeared William Dyer, of Windham, in the county of Cumberland and State of Maine, who states that he is 44 years of age, married, and has three children, aged 14, 12, and 5; that he is in the employ of the Portland Gas Light Co. and has been in their employ for 17 years; my job there is known as an exhauster man and I receive $44.20 a week. I operate a farm at Windham, Maine,