Suspect in Macon Co. double homicide has history of mental illness, ALEA reports

Suspect in Macon Co. double homicide has history of mental illness, ALEA reports

MACON COUNTY, Ala. (WTVM) - The search continues tonight for an East Alabama man wanted in connection to the deaths of his brother and sister.

The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) reports the suspect has a history of mental illness.

There are now two active warrants for Aaron Gess’s arrest for the murders of William Gess Jr. and Sharon Gess Sunday night. Although ALEA won’t share information on Aaron Gess’s mental health history, one woman is sharing her concern for him.

“You know, Sharon and William are in a better place, but I wonder, is Aaron going to be in a better place. What’s going to happen with him?” asked Cherie Hall.

Hall is a mental health professional in East Alabama who is grieving the loss of a dear friend.

“Sharon and I worked together at East Alabama Mental Health when we were both pursuing our license, hers in nursing, mine in mental health," Hall said.

Sharon Gess and her brother William Gess Jr. were killed Sunday night on Dead End Street, off Tuskegee Street in Notasulga.

“Right now, rural hospitals have a few psychiatric beds," Hall said. "Those beds are highly sought after and they’re generally reserved for people who are having suicidal or homicidal thoughts. But not everybody expresses those thoughts. Some people have them, but they don’t tell anybody about it.”

Hall said her heart aches for the Gess family and the victims. She’s also sharing her concern for Aaron Gess as well as other mentally ill people who commit crimes.

“What happened in their world or in their mind that made what they did okay to them?" Hall asked. "I always wondered about that and I still do.”

When it comes to mental illness, Hall said, “it’s not a character flaw.”

She said it’s an illness that can be treated. But with dwindling resources, Hall said she’s concerned for Aaron Gess’s ability to get good care when arrested and incarcerated.

ALEA reports Aaron Gess has made threats to resist arrest and is believed to be armed and dangerous. The Notasulga police chief said the family is not ready to speak publicly at this time.

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