Sherry Ilene Windt, the 19-year-old Bethesda woman who was found responsible earlier this year for stabbing her mother to death in the fall of 1975, has been released from the Baltimore-based psychiatric facility where she had been receiving intensive treatment.
Judge Douglas H. Moore Jr. of the Montgomery County Juvenile Court said Windt, who was once described by a psychiatrist as deeply disturbed and having three different personalities, was released at the end of last month. Moore said "the hospital believes she is no longer in need" of confinement and that she is not "a menace to society." She will continue to receive therapy at the facility three times a week as an outpatient.
Although she has been released from custody, Windt, who was tried as a juvenile, will remain under supervision of the court until she becomes 21, Moore said. The juvenile court's finding that she was responsible for her mother's death was equivalent to a guilty finding in an adult court.
Judge Moore said Windt's release as an outpatient was worked out as part of a treatment plan he had discussed with the staff of the Institute of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, the facility where Windt has been receiving psychiatric care for the past year.
Walter H. Madden, Windt's attorney, said she will be living with Tracy Young, a nurse with whom she became acquainted at the psychiatric institute.
Young accompanied Windt during her trial in Rockville last April.
Windt's mother, Marjorie, 42, an advertising and public relations executive for Garfinckel's, was stabbed seven times in the neck, chest and side on Oct. 16, 1975, in their apartment at 5101 River Road.
During Sherry Windt's subsequent examination and treatment, psychiatrists said she was suffering from amnesia because she was unable to recall any of her actions on the night of the slaying. She was described as retreating into "dissociative states" in which she would lose touch with reality.
Windt's case has become well-known in psychiatric circles because of the variety of mental disturbances psychiatrists said she was suffering from.
In one hearing in the case, a psychiatrist testified that Windt had three personalities, something like the subject of the movie. "The Three Faces of Eye," and that her personalities would shift "right before your eyes."
Windt, who attended the private Holton Arms School in Potomac, was described by those who know her as an extraordinarily bright young woman with artistic talent extremely mature for her age who had served the role of an adult confidante to her mother.
Windt's parents were divorced when she was 1 year old. Some family friends said after the slaying that Windt, who always dressed in the latest fashions for her court hearings, was close to her mother. But others said the two quarreled about Windt's use of birth control pills, staying out late and use of family car.
At 10:45 p.m. on the night of her mother's death, Windt called Dr. Robert Moran, a family friend and a psychiatrist, and sobbing, told him her mother had committed suicide, according to the police report.
Shortly afterward, according to the report, Windt called a girlfriend and said, "I did it." Windt had talked to her friends at school about killing her mother, but gave up on the idea of stabbing as "too messy," the report said. Instead, she asked some friends where she could get poison, the report said.
As her mother lay dead in their apartment, Windt telephoned The Washington Post and asked to place an obituary. She also called an uncle in Roston to tell him of her mother's death, the police report said.
Windt was wearing a leotard and pants and had been sedated by Moran when police arrived, according to court testimony. She had two fingernail marks on her right wrist, a scrape on her right forearm and a blood spot on one elbow, according to the report.
Police said her mother had been killed with a paring knife with a three-inch blade.
Madden, Windt's attorney, said she wants to return to school and continue her education.
He said her behavior on leaves from the psychiatric facility helped determine her fitness for her new outpatient status.
He said she was allowed to leave the facility to spend holidays with relatives and for a recreational trip to Deep Creek Lake in Garrett County, Md. He said she has been working as a clerk in a health food store near the facility since January.
Judge Moore said that if Windt should prove unfit as an outpatient, she can be returned to confinement.