Ohio man acquitted after insanity defense dies

December 17, 2014 GMT

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Billy Milligan, an Ohio man believed to be the first person to use multiple personality disorder in an insanity defense, has died. He was 59.

Milligan had cancer and died Friday at a hospital in Columbus, said his sister, Kathy. She refused to be identified by her last name, citing concerns about backlash, her family’s privacy and reigniting what she called “the insanity that surrounds everything involved in this case.”

In 1978, Milligan was accused of kidnapping, raping and robbing three women near Ohio State University. He was found innocent by reason of insanity after psychiatrists concluded he had as many as two dozen personalities.


Doctors said the many personalities fused into one harmless one after therapy. Milligan was released from a hospital in 1988 and underwent outpatient mental treatment before getting his final release in August 1991.

He received mental treatment on and off throughout his life, his sister said.

Milligan returned to Ohio about five years ago and had lived “rather quietly” for a while, his sister said.

He previously lived in California, where he was accused of threatening a judge and went through bankruptcy.

In 1983, Milligan agreed to pay all costs from his stays at Ohio psychiatric hospitals. The room and board, plus interest, brought the total to about $450,000.

The state has recovered $170,000 from Milligan to date, Dan Tierney, a spokesman for the Ohio Attorney General, said Wednesday.

“The Minds of Billy Milligan,” a book Milligan wrote with Daniel Keyes, was published in 1981.


Associated Press Researcher Jennifer Farrar in New York and AP writer Kantele Franko in Columbus contributed to this report.