A bail hearing in Otsego County Court for accused shooter Anthony Pacherille, scheduled weeks ago for Friday, was canceled Thursday afternoon at the request of the 16-year-old’s attorney, E. Stewart Jones Jr., of Troy.
Hours earlier, the defendant’s father, also Anthony Pacherille, called The Daily Star to talk about the pending ruling by Otsego County Judge Brian Burns.
The senior Pacherille, who lives in Cooperstown, also described what his life has been like since Good Friday, April 2, when he was at Mass in St. Mary’s Church and got the bad news.
``Good Friday, my son woke up and he was acting strangely,’’ he recalled. ``He was very fidgety that day, couldn’t sit still. I asked him if he was going to Mass with us.
``He said no and I thought that was strange, but it’s not a requirement. So we left and went to Mass and it was right before the end that a sheriff’s deputy came in and said `apparently, your son just shot someone and shot himself in the head.’’’
The victim was Cooperstown High School classmate Wesley Lippitt, son of Craig and Tracey Lippitt of Fly Creek. According to police, Pacherille chased him across Cooperstown’s Main Street, down Fair Street to the village police department door, shot him once in the arm, fired a second round in his direction, then turned the .22-caliber rifle on himself when confronted by Officer James Cox.
Weeks later, he was charged with three hate crimes, including second-degree attempted murder, which carries a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison.
Pacherille said his son left a suicide note, indicating he thought he was on a divine mission, a rambling message that shows he was not in his right mind.
Although his son is white and Lippitt is black, his son is not a racist, he said.
Just after the shooting, a look at his son’s Facebook welcome page indicated he was associated with fringe and hate groups, including HATE OBAMA and il fascismo.
``My son is not a joiner,” said Pacherille. He had not been associated with those groups for long, perhaps just a few days before the shooting, he said.
``I don’t know how Wesley got mixed up in this, and thank God his wound wasn’t serious.”
The Lippitts, who suffered a second tragedy Thursday with the death of their 25-year-old daughter, Tamra Lippitt, could not be reached for comment Thursday. Wesley Lippitt was shot in the arm, but previously, his mother said the wound was far more than just a hole in the arm.
Since the shooting, his life has been unreal, said Pacherille.
``You want to talk about a nightmare; this is a nightmare that hasn’t stopped,” he said. “For the first five or six weeks, I was barely holding onto my own sanity and I felt things were spiraling out of control.
``I still walk into his room and when he’s not in there, I can’t get used to that.”
His boy is sick, he said. He shouldn’t be in jail, but in a medical facility where he can be treated for psychiatric problems.
``Before he left Bassett, they called up my wife and I, and asked if they could make some attempt to treat him psychiatrically, to start him on some medication.
And they did. They gave him Seroquel. They started out at 50 milligrams a day and they went up to 100 a day and that’s when the sheriff took him out (of the hospital).”
At the county jail, where his son is being held without bail, he is not getting the treatment he needs, Pacherille said.
``He needs to go somewhere where they find the right medication. When a 16-year-old who’s never been a problem ... one day to everyone’s amazement leaves the house and shoots himself in the head because he thinks God has sent him as a prophet, it’s kind of a no-brainer for a psychiatrist.
``If you went down to the jail today, he might seem perfectly OK. He might be laughing, seem like a normal 16-year-old kid. But on April 1, he seemed like a perfectly normal kid,” the father said.
``They can pretty much guarantee if it’s not treated properly, it will come back. And it’s probably going to come on quickly and dangerously. As a parent I’m afraid for him. But as a citizen I’d be afraid for the other inmates.”
Wednesday, Otsego County Sheriff Richard Devlin Jr. said Pacherille is under round-theclock watch and has access to a nurse, doctor and mental health professionals from the county’s Mental Health Clinic.
``I don’t know how much more I can say with the HIPPA rules,” said Devlin. “He’s been absolutely no problem.”
Otsego County District Attorney John Muehl said Friday’s hearing was scheduled to allow the defense to make its arguments for bail in court.
Muehl said he has witnesses to support keeping Pacherille in jail until his trial, scheduled for Nov. 1.
Also on the agenda was a defense motion to suppress a statement Pacherille allegedly wrote to police when asked about the shooting: “I drove around and tried to kill n....rs,” according to court records.
The statement was allegedly made before Pacherille had been advised of his Miranda rights.
The suspect’s father said that on that day, his son was not himself, and now he is being treated like a hardened criminal, although he is neither hardened nor an adult.
“He’s a 16-year-old, still a kid. He’s a child and I hope that doesn’t ever get lost,” he said.
``He’s never been in trouble in his life and he’s very close to the church. He still plans on becoming a priest.”