Nuts and Bolts from the Blue: Madison Resident Who Murdered His Family in Chicago Said He Was a Prophet
This has made all the Midwest news from here to Illinois, and even the national news. I haven’t really wanted to delve into this, because it’s so sad about the lives (and the lives of the wanted unborn) that were needlessly taken away just a few days before. Even the perp’s mother may be just as good as dead right now.
James Larry, an ex-convict, Muslim convert, and Madison Westside resident who had just been released from County jail, took his wife and family to Chicago for a visit to relatives living in the Marquette Park area. Later in the night, when everyone was asleep, he got up from bed.
The murderous rampage started after James Larry, a converted Muslim, looked to the sky and didn’t see the moon or the sun before dawn Wednesday, a family member says.
“That meant Allah told him to take his family,” said the woman, who asked that her name not be printed.
“He went inside and said, ‘It’s time,'” the woman told the Sun-Times.
Before it was over, his 19-year-old wife, Twanda Thompson, infant son Jihad, and two nieces, 3-year old Keleasha Larry and 16-year old Keyshai Fields, were dead by his hand. Other family members, awoken by the shots, were literally chased down the street, barely escaping death or injury themselves. Some didn’t escape, including Larry’s own mother.
Before James Larry went off on his rampage, there was evidence that in addition to frequent, escalating arguments he was having with his wife, he was undergoing some schizophrenic crisis and was behaving strangely. And yet no one did anything. He was hearing voices telling him to kill. WBBM in Chicago reported:
The suspect’s sister, Letisha Larry of Wisconsin, said that, while her brother has no diagnosed mental illness, he started acting strangely recently. She said her brother had been saying Allah was telling him to kill people for the past week.
“He just flipped out. He said the Muslim in some book he always carried around and read said that yeah … in the book he said he must kill someone, so he killed his family,” Letisha Larry said. “He was like just saying little weird little stuff, talking about about he an angel and we demons — there’s demons in the house.”
She says while her brother was behind bars in Wisconsin, he had become a Muslim. Sources say he told them he had been hearing voices that told him to kill his family. Sources also say he had planned on killing more people in the house, but had run out of bullets.
Before people start going off on Islam, understand that the religion itself is relatively benign. And the name Jihad has many explanations other than religious warfare, but the word has been overused by the media to an extreme. Indeed some right-wingers are already wondering aloud why the so-called liberal media hasn’t picked up on Larry’s “religious” rampage. However, the combination of mental disorder AND ultra-religious (or ultra-political) fervor is a rather dangerous mix.
Larry also carries a rather long rap sheet, including theft, drug and illegal gun possession. Once, he even slammed into the back of a van on the road for no reason, and then tried to leave the scene. He’s been under treatment for at least eight years for psychological issues. Either the therapy wasn’t working or he hasn’t been taking his meds because hearing voices and telling people that he has to follow up on the compulsion to kill others are rather loud alarm bells. And yet black folks are still trying to protect their own at the cost of their lives.
Well, now James Larry is facing murder one.
Days before a Madison man allegedly shot and killed four family members, including his pregnant wife and their 7-month-old son, and critically injured two other relatives in a Chicago home, he told his stepfather that he “was reincarnated as a prophet.”
“We got into an argument about it,” said Frederick Burton of Madison, the stepfather of James A. Larry and husband of Leona Larry Burton, who remained on life support at a suburban Chicago hospital Friday after being shot in the head early Wednesday.
“It’s not looking good,” said Burton, 49. “If she does get better, she won’t be right.”
Burton said he plans to talk with people at the Catholic church he attends in Chicago about whether to discontinue life support.
“I just don’t know what to do,” Burton said.
“When I talk to her, she knows that I’m there,” he said. “She sort of flinched….I kissed her.”
Horrible. I don’t know what to say about how much brain activity his wife truly has left or whether she “knows” that her husband is beside her. But if he can obtain as much information as can be from both the medical and Catholic communities, perhaps he can be persuaded to make the best decision possible. As he himself admits, it doesn’t look good.
More from the Wisconsin State Journal:
The day before, Burton said, James Larry said “someone told him he had been reincarnated as a prophet,” Burton said. He said the two argued, and James Larry “got angry. Then he started saying some stuff in Arabic.”
Burton said James Larry had been acting odd and controlling since he got out of prison, where he had become a Muslim. Family members previously said James Larry had a dispute with his wife because she refused to dress in Muslim garb.
In 2002, James Larry was sentenced to nearly six years in prison for possessing a firearm as a felon. He was released on April 30, 2007, but was found to have violated his three-year term of supervised release in 2008 by repeatedly using marijuana, according to federal court records.
At Friday’s bail hearing, Assistant Public Defender Julie Koehler said James Larry had recently been under the treatment of a psychiatrist in Janesville.
Burton said he did not know James Larry was seeing a psychiatrist. But Burton said he “knew something was wrong with him” when he got out of jail in February after receiving a 45-day sentence for battering his wife in the parking lot of Walmart, 4198 Nakoosa Trail, on Sept. 25.
“He started saying he was having these headaches,” Burton said.
Did Larry really say something in Arabic to his stepfather, or did he simply spout gibberish and say that it was Arabic, just to feel superior?
And Twanda Thompson had refused to wear traditional orthodox Muslim attire, which usually means a long shapeless dress not calling attention to herself, and a headdress covering all of her hair. She evidently did not share in her husband’s beliefs, and his inability to control her must have daily fueled his rage. A recent picture of Twanda with her baby show her wearing either a blonde wig or having dyed blonde tresses. Shirina Thompson, her sister, said that “Larry forced anyone coming into his Madison home to kneel on a rug and pray before entering” the apartment. Such an imposition on visitors would have dissuaded any friends or relatives to meet with Twanda while her husband was present, and being under- or unemployed, he was at home nearly all the time. She must have felt isolated.
The fact that Larry had legalized his relationship with Twanda Thompson doesn’t seem to be a factor; although his inability to hold a job may turn up in court.
Court records show Larry’s paternity of his son, Jihad, was legally established last week. Larry and Thompson had married the month before.
Records also indicate Larry had only one day of work in a Madison factory in recent months through a temporary employment agency.
All these warnings, and yet he wasn’t committed? A neighbor who lived in the same apartment building is now kicking herself for allowing her husband to convince her not to intervene in the furious, nearly nightly arguments the Larrys were having. And dare I say it–why are young women taking up with men who continually present these propensities towards criminality and mental issues? Don’t tell me that there aren’t better men in the world.
People must be thinking that there is something in the water about Mad City, since Tyrone Adair took the lives of his former lovers and his daughters by the two different women, and then turned the gun on himself. No, it’s not the water or Madison that makes guys like Adair and now James Larry go off and murder their loved ones. It’s them, and them alone.