Panama City News-Herald
14th January 1975, page 9

Vision Blamed in Shooting

- A young woman was shot to death and two women: were wounded at the Divine Light Mission Monday by a man who said he was guided by a vision, police reported.

Richard Douglas Briggs Jr., 23, of Denver, Colo., was arraigned and ordered held without bond on a murder charge and two charges of attempted murder, police said.

Dianne Ames Whitley, 22, of Stowe, Vt., died about five hours after the 3 a.m. shooting at the home where police said about a dozen followers of Guru Maharaji lived.

Lorain Montgomery, 38, leader of the mission, was listed in serious condition and Dee Ann Burr Geiger, 22, Tallahassee, was in satisfactory condition at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital.

All three were shot in the head, police said. Briggs, a former Florida State University student, had stayed in the mission about a week ago but was turned away Sunday night, said Carl Swanson, a police spokesman.

"He was prone to ranting, raving excess in everything he did and we had to ask him to leave," said mission spokesman Robert Helms.

Briggs told police that after he left the home and had slept for a while, he had a vision from the Guru to punish the occupants of the mission, Swanson said.

The man obtained a .25 caliber pistol and returned to the mission where he shot Miss Whitley and Mrs Geiger as they slept in their beds and shot Miss Montgomery when she came down the hall to check the disturbance, Swanson said.

"He wasn't coming from love, he knew what he was doing," Helms said. He said he was awakened by the shooting and heard someone crying "Doug, Doug."

Helms said he learned later the pistol was out of bullets.

Briggs appeared barefoot at his arraignment, with jeans rolled up slightly. He said little.