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Man Accused of Threatening Television Anchor Found Insane

February 1, 1994

PONTIAC, Mich. (AP) _ A 41-year-old man who sent a series of threatening letters to a television anchorwoman has been found innocent by reason of insanity of a charge of stalking.

″This man is not capable of conforming to the law,″ Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Hilda Gage said Monday in finding Timothy M. Hines innocent. He was sent to a mental health center for evaluation and eventually would be committed.

Hines, of Ypsilanti, was charged with stalking anchor Catherine Leahan, sending her dozens of letters, including some containing death threats.

″He talked about violence, sex and how he wanted to kill me,″ Leahan testified. ″It was like he was obsessed. He had no regard for the law.″

Leahan, a newscaster for WJBK in Detroit, refused to comment on the verdict.

According to court testimony, Hines became obsessed with Leahan, believing that he had extrasensory perception and that she occasionally would possess his body. Two psychologists testified that Hines is schizophrenic.

He never confronted Leahan in person, but in one letter included a picture of him holding a dead deer. He threatened to track her and kill her. Another letter warned she would end up in a swamp with a wire around her neck.

The man’s attorney, Ronald Pentz, said he was satisfied, calling Hines ″a very sick person″ who needed treatment instead of jail.