David and Jenny Williams had just settled down for a long winter’s nap when they were awoken by Denton firefighters battling a blaze in their driveway at 3 a.m. on Dec. 12. Someone had set the engine of David Williams’ pickup ablaze and spray-painted “Nigger lovers” on their garage door, according to initial media reports.
Williams, who is 35, told the Denton Record-Chronicle that he didn’t know why someone would spray paint a racial slur on his garage door where his motorcycle and truck caught fire. At the time of the report, fire officials still hadn’t determined the cause of the fire, and Williams, who is also a spokesperson for the National Alliance for Mental Illness, pointed out that he lives in a racially diverse area. Someone set up a GoFundMe account to raise money to help cover the cost of the fire.
“People are asking about whether this is some sort of retaliation thing,” Williams told the Chronicle a few days after the blaze. “I’ve done some social justice kind of stuff — defending people on social media — but this doesn’t make any sense.”
It didn’t make sense until his wife, Jenny, wrote a Facebook post Wednesday night:
“So I have no words, I want to post a blog update, but the words evade me. So for my community, who has rallied behind me and my family, your support and love astounds me. My heart is heavy, and I have more questions then answers. My children and I are in a state of shock and sadness, so this will be my only statement. Yesterday, Tuesday morning, David confessed to spray painting our garage door and starting the fire at our home, Monday December 12th. David is currently at a mental health facility and will be arrested upon his release. The creator of the GoFundMe account has started the process of contacting donors, and returning donated funds. Please understand that GoFundMe subtracted 8% in fees, that she is not capable of returning. Funds have not currently been released to her, your patience is greatly appreciated.”
Denton police spokesman Shane Kizer said the Denton Fire Department were investigating the matter, and Williams’ wife didn’t respond to a request for an interview.
Williams’ wife told the Dentonite, a local blog covering the Denton area, that her husband was diagnosed with bipolar disorder with rapid cycling and borderline personality disorder in 2012. She claims that her husband had spent some time in a mental health facility prior to his diagnosis and claims he’s tried different medications to manage his disorder before he decided to quit searching for the right medication.
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“Every attempt David has made, he found himself frustrated in,” she told the website. “Meds that made him feel worse, meds that made him mentally feel better, but the side effects were horrendous. Meds that didn’t have the horrible side effects made him feel like his mental state was worse.
“Once you’ve tried that long getting the wrong thing, do you believe that the right thing even exists?” she added.
She also pointed that she was simply asking for understanding from people, though she did say that she was having a hard time understanding how his mental health played a role in him setting their vehicles on fire and spray-painting the slur on their garage.
“Who can start a fire 30 feet from where their wife and children are and then go to sleep?” she said.