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  •   Family Can Visit Weston in Hospital, Judge Rules

    By Bill Miller
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Saturday, August 8, 1998; Page B06

    Relatives of alleged Capitol gunman Russell Eugene Weston Jr. got a judge's permission yesterday to visit him at D.C. General Hospital, clearing the way for their first meeting with him since his arrest on murder charges.

    Weston's attorneys have struggled much of the past week attempting to make the visitation arrangements for Weston's parents, sister and brother-in-law. On Thursday, U.S. Magistrate Judge Deborah A. Robinson ruled that no visit could take place until Weston was arraigned on charges stemming from the July 24 attack that killed two police officers.

    L. Barrett Boss, an attorney with the Federal Public Defender Service, asked Chief U.S. District Judge Norma Holloway Johnson to review the matter yesterday. Johnson ruled that the D.C. Department of Corrections has the final say on visits. And because corrections officials have no objection to the family seeing Weston, Johnson said the hospital visit could occur.

    Weston's mother, Arbah Jo Weston, said that the family welcomed the news but that relatives were not planning to make the 750-mile trip from their home in Valmeyer, Ill., for several days. She said the family would call corrections officials to learn what rules and regulations governed the visit.

    Weston, 41, was in stable condition yesterday, recovering from gunshot wounds to the abdomen, arms and legs suffered in the attack. He is accused of using a .38-caliber revolver to kill U.S. Capitol Police officers Jacob J. Chestnut and John M. Gibson. Gibson and another officer, Douglas B. McMillan, shot Weston in the gunfight.

    Doctors have said it may be two to three weeks before Weston is able to appear in court. Yesterday, Robinson agreed to delay his arraignment until Aug. 19.

    Weston also will be visited by a small legion of doctors assigned to evaluate his mental condition. Defense attorneys have hired four mental health specialists to help them assess Weston's mental state and decide whether to pursue an insanity defense. Prosecutors have lined up psychiatrists Park Dietz, Robert Phillips and Raymond F. Patterson.

    Dietz was among the doctors who worked on the case of James E. Swann Jr., the so-called Shotgun Stalker, who was found not guilty by reason of insanity in a series of D.C. attacks in 1993 that left four people dead; Dietz and others concluded that Swann was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia at the time. Phillips worked on the case of Francisco Martin Duran, the Colorado man who was convicted of opening fire outside the White House in October 1994. Patterson examined John W. Hinckley Jr., who was found not guilty by reason of insanity in the attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan.

    Staff writer Gabriel Escobar contributed to this report.

    © Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

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