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Gunman guilty but mentally ill for killing caseworker, wounding doctor in hospital shooting


MEDIA, Pennsylvania — A suburban Philadelphia man pleaded guilty but mentally ill to fatally shooting his caseworker and wounding his psychiatrist, who returned fire with his own gun to shoot the man and end the siege at a hospital complex last July.

Richard Plotts, 50, of Upper Darby, now faces life in prison after entering the plea Tuesday to first-degree murder, attempted murder and illegally possessing a firearm.

Plotts killed Theresa Hunt, 53, at the Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital campus in Yeadon on July 24, 2014.

He also grazed Dr. Lee Silverman in the temple and thumb before the doctor pulled out his gun to wound Plotts to end the attack.

Plotts' public defender, Charles Williams, said Plotts suffered from paranoid delusions and had tried to kill himself several times. Williams told the Delaware County Times that Plotts thought he would die in the shootout.

"I think he fully believed that someone was going to come and kill him, which I think he really wanted in this case," Williams told the newspaper.

"Everyone he's come into contact with his whole life, he didn't trust," Williams said. "He thought they were all out to get him in some way and he couldn't be convinced otherwise."

Plotts is scheduled for sentencing Sept. 25. First-degree murder carries a mandatory life sentence without the possibility of parole.

Still, Williams said the plea was in Plotts' best interest.

"He never wanted to go to trial in this case," Williams said. "He didn't want to put his own family or the victims' families through a daily trial."

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