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Killer to receive mental treatment
Sallisaw shootings: Appeals court rules

By Sheila Stogsdill Published: January 31, 2007
SALLISAW — The attorney for convicted killer Daniel Hawke Fears said a ruling by the state Court of Criminal Appeals means his client now will receive needed treatment.

"His family is relieved,” attorney Rob Nigh said.

The court ruled Monday its earlier decision was correct to overturn Fears' murder convictions in favor of a ruling of not guilty by reason of insanity.

Fears was an 18-year-old Sallisaw High School senior when he went on a 20-minute shooting spree on Oct. 26, 2002, after a neighbor criticized his driving as reckless. Law enforcement authorities say he broke into his father's house, stole his gun and started shooting nearly everyone he encountered.

He was convicted in 2004 on two counts of first-degree murder in the shooting deaths of Sallisaw resident Patsy Sue Wells, 61, and Reba Spangler, 68, of Fort Smith, Ark.

A hearing is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Thursday in Sequoyah County District Court.

There is not much to dispute what can happen at the hearing, Nigh said. Fears, who was diagnosed as a schizophrenic, will be transported to a state mental hospital, he said.

The next step will be a review hearing in 45 days, Nigh said.

"If it is determined that he (Fears) is dangerous to himself or the community, or in continued need of supervision, he will stay at the hospital,” Nigh said.

Nigh did say there was a "reasonable possibility” Fears may be released from the hospital, but not soon.

Fears also was convicted on eight counts of shooting with intent to kill, five counts of discharging a firearm from a vehicle and one count each of pointing a firearm and discharging a firearm with intent to kill.

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