He took a different approach because he is very familiar with how people are treated in the St. Peter Regional Treatment Center's security hospital and sex offender programs, Gilbertson said. He does many evaluations for people who are committed there and also serves on the Supreme Court Appeal Panel, which reviews the cases of people being released from those programs.
The 1998 incident and 2012 incident were completely different, Gilbertson said. Before killing his sister, Ewing refused to admit he had a mental illness, wasn't taking his medications and had only been treated periodically when he was forced into emergency treatment facilities after a breakdown. The attack on his mother happened while he was receiving constant treatment, taking his medications and had gone more than a decade without any violent incidents.
“He had been exposed to 14 years in a hospital that was designed to treat people like him,” Gilbertson said. “I believe it was a different case, a different time and a different individual.”
Ewing knew it was his mother he was attacking even though he referred to her as the antichrist, Gilbertson said. The fact he brought supplies with him and made plans to escape after killing his mother were also a sign of “moral reflection,” meaning he was considering whether what he was doing was right or wrong, he said. When Ewing was interviewed by investigators four hours after the 2012 attack, he also talked about wondering if killing his mother would accomplish his goal of killing the antichrist and changing the world.
While answering questions from Ferrazzano, Gilbertson said he didn't believe either incident would have happened if Ewing wasn't bipolar with a schizoaffective disorder. But that didn't mean he wasn't capable of knowing the difference between right and wrong. Gilbertson also said he believes it would have been impossible to mask potentially dangerous delusions from security hospital staff for 14 years.