Triad Suspect Was Transformed By Schizophrenia
Byline: BY KELLY KENNEDY THE SALT LAKE TRIBUNE
Most people have heard bits of the story of De-Kieu Duy, the woman police say fatally shot
AT&T employee Anne Sleater at the Triad Center in Salt Lake City.
But people who knew her as Lisa Duy say there's more to the story.
Her high-school picture shows a pretty girl with a shy smile -- and she was so shy many of her
classmates don't remember going to school with her at all. She was a sister who took care of the
household chores. She is an intelligent woman who attended Advanced Placement classes at school
and took some college courses. And, they say, she is a nice person.
She was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia in 1994 and since then has struggled with the
demons who constantly talk inside her head.
The voices changed her from a girl with a future to a woman with a history of run-ins with the
police, complaints from neighbors and a murder charge.
Duy has been charged with entering the Triad Center Building in January with a handgun, looking
for KSL television news reporters, grazing KSL building manager Brent Wightman with two 9 mm
bullets and then roaming up to the third floor where Sleater sat with a new AT&T employee. Police
say she shot Sleater in the head before AT&T employees could wrestle her to the ground. Sleater, a
wife and mother of an infant, died nine days later.
Today, Duy sits at the Oxbow Jail waiting for her trial.
Duy's lawyer, Paul Quinlan, said she is on medication for her disease, and that she is able to
understand why she is in jail. Police reports show she was under a doctor's care before the shooting,
but a family member said in the report that he didn't know if she was taking medication or not.
Many schizophrenic people intentionally go off their medications because they feel like they have
recovered or because they have side effects such as nausea.
"She is doing better on medication, but she is constantly suffering from auditory hallucinations --
she hears voices," Quinlan said. "She can carry on a conversation, but there's a delay while she filters
out the voices that she hears. You feel so sorry for her because she's struggling to be in your world."
She can't quite figure out why she's not like everyone else, Quinlan said, though she does know she
needs to stay on her medication.
"She asks us every day what we're doing to investigate who's doing this to her -- who's putting the
voices in her head," he said.
Police reports show Duy went into a West Valley radio station in 1996 with a butcher knife
demanding to see a disc jockey she believed was putting the voices in her head, and that she had
claimed KSL television reporters were also harassing her.
Her brother, Allen Duy, told police that his sister lived with her family and that she took care of the
household chores, such as cooking and cleaning. But he told police he could not understand her --
that he couldn't have a conversation with her. Her mother, Khahn Duy, said Lisa Duy was
Her former apartment manager, Kay Lynn Matthews, said the Duy family lived in her building at
871 E. Meadow Pine Court (3800 South) from November 1996 until January 1998.
"They ended up being evicted," she said. "I received complaints from other tenants regarding
trespassing, swearing, vulgarities and peeping in neighbors' windows. When you tried to speak to her,
she responded with cuss words."
Matthews said she had formal complaints from several of her tenants about Lisa Duy, but that the
rest of the family seemed OK. Still, she was surprised to hear of the violence of the Triad Center
"I was like, `Oh my goodness, I know her,' " she said. "It did surprise me that it was her, though."
Quinlan said two of Duy's sisters also have been diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenics, but that her
mother put her two brothers through college. Lisa Duy also attended the University of Utah for a
while, Quinlan said.
"It's just an incredible family," he said. "It's sad for both families -- hers and Anne Sleater's."
Quinlan said there may have been signs leading up to Duy's illness, and that like many of his clients,
Duy's illness could have been taken care of sooner.
"There were probably several missed opportunities where she could have been helped," he said.
"But there's a lack of funding, of facilities, of good treatment options, and a lack of concern."
After Duy took the butcher knife to the radio station, she went through a mandatory counseling
program, police reports show, but after counseling ended, she was not required to continue with her
medication or to see a doctor.
Even as early as high school, Duy may have showed signs of illness.
Her East High School guidance counselor said Duy didn't cause trouble in school, but that she was
memorable for her personality.
"She was quite a loner," retired counselor Sid Baskin said. "Rather volatile. She didn't have any
friends -- she was anti-social. And she was erratic in her educational behavior: We had to work hard
to get her through school. She was a troubled student."
Baskin said they did not know if she had schizophrenia because, "that wasn't our job. Our job was
to help her graduate."
Many of Duy's 335 classmates do not remember her at all -- possibly because she was not an
outgoing student, Baskin said.
Mark Attridge, who attended school with Duy at Glendale Intermediate School and graduated
with her from East High in 1993, had nothing but good things to say about Duy.
"She was quiet and to herself," he said. "She was actually kind of a nice person. This just shocks
me. She was never in trouble."
Though Duy wasn't listed in any extracurricular activities in her yearbook, Attridge remembers her
being an intelligent girl, and thought she may have been in Advanced Placement classes. He also
remembers her running around the track.
"She wasn't in the popularity clique," Attridge said. "I didn't think she was strange or anything. She
was just a normal kid who got picked on like everybody else."
Her lawyer had similar comments about Duy.
"She seems like a highly intelligent young lady," Quinlan said. "She is very polite, very scared, very
respectful, and she just seems like a nice young lady. She seems to be grasping the gravity of her
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