Killing Latest Case To Highlight Va. Psychiatric Issues

By Tom Jackman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Fawn C. Scott, who had slash marks on her wrist and mental health issues, was taken by Fairfax City police to a psychiatric clinic last week after a loud argument with her boyfriend. An officer even waited with Scott at the Woodburn Center for Community Mental Health in Annandale until someone came to see her, court records and interviews show.

That was shortly before 4 p.m. About an hour later, Scott's boyfriend called police to say she was back home and had stabbed him. Soon after, the boyfriend, Dexter O. Richardson Sr., died of a single stab wound to the heart.

Scott, covered in blood, was arrested and charged with murder. But the death of Richardson, a 50-year-old father of five and grandfather of four, casts another spotlight on Virginia's mental health system. The system has come under intense scrutiny since a troubled Fairfax County man killed 32 people and himself at Virginia Tech in April.

"Why did they let that lady out of the hospital?" asked Lolita Richardson, Dexter Richardson's former wife. "He was a great, great man, a loving man. He did all he could for everybody."

Scott, 31, was known to Fairfax mental health providers before the incident Thursday afternoon on Warwick Avenue, court records indicate. But officials with the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board, which provides mental health services to Fairfax city and county residents and oversees Woodburn, said they could not comment on the case because of patient confidentiality laws.

The incident began when a neighbor called 911 about 1:50 p.m. to report a possible domestic violence incident, Fairfax City Sgt. Pam Nevlud said. When officers arrived, Scott was in Apartment 2 and Dexter Richardson was waiting across the street, according to a search warrant affidavit filed in Fairfax County Circuit Court by Detective Michael Boone.

Richardson told police that he had been in an argument with Scott and that he thought she had vandalized his car, Boone wrote. The officers spoke with Scott, who had "fresh superficial lacerations to her left wrist area," he wrote.

After interviewing the couple, police concluded that "it was not actually a domestic" incident, Nevlud said. "It was a mental health issue she was having."

The officers contacted the staff at the Woodburn center, Boone wrote, and they told the officers that "they were familiar with Ms. Scott and asked that she be transported to Woodburn for treatment." Scott agreed to go voluntarily, and an officer drove her to Woodburn.

Nevlud said Scott didn't want the officer to leave. "So he stayed. The officer spent an extensive amount of time with her," she said.

The officer did not return to service until 4 p.m., Nevlud said.

At 4:55 p.m., Richardson dialed 911 and told the dispatcher that "Fawn Scott had returned from Woodburn Mental Health and had stabbed him in the chest," Boone wrote. As officers arrived, Scott emerged from the apartment with blood on her pants, shirt and hands, the affidavit says.

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