The case of Billy Milligan that started in the late 1970s garnered an immense amount of media attention solely because of Billy’s psyche. After being arrested for rape, Billy claimed that he didn’t remember anything and had other personalities that carried out the attacks. Netflix’s ‘Monsters Inside: The 24 Faces of Billy Milligan’ is a four-part docuseries that charts this fascinating case and looks at Billy’s life on the whole. So, let’s find out what happened to Billy then, shall we?
Who Was Billy Milligan?
William Stanley Milligan was born in February 1955 in Florida. He was born to Dorothy and John Morrison. John was still married to his wife — another woman — at the time. However, they went on to have three children. After John’s death, Dorothy moved back to Ohio with the kids, and after a short-lived marriage with her ex-husband, she met Chalmer Milligan. They married in 1963, and Chalmer adopted the three kids, with Dorothy adopting Chalmer’s daughter.
Growing up, Billy was in trouble often. He was suspended from school because he often wandered around the city of Lancaster, Ohio, in a trance-like state. Furthermore, Billy later claimed that Chalmer subjected him to severe sexual and physical abuse that many psychiatrists later believed was why Billy’s psyche splintered into multiple personalities. He was diagnosed with hysterical neurosis while he was still young. He was suspended from high school in 1972 and late from the Navy as well.
In the same year, Billy was found guilty of rape and served time at a youth camp. He claimed that the woman was a prostitute who wanted him to pay for sexual acts that didn’t occur. Later, he was sent to jail on robbery charges and spent about 2 years in prison. He was released on parole in 1977, the same year in which the sexual assaults happened. In 4 instances between October 14 and October 26, 1977, Billy robbed and raped three women. One of the victims told the police that her attacker spoke in a German accent. He was arrested after his fingerprint was found on one of the victims’ vehicles. A victim also picked him out of a photo lineup.
But this was where Billy’s case gained notoriety. According to the docuseries, Billy seemed clueless at the time of his arrest. A psychiatric evaluation revealed that Billy actually had multiple personalities within him. So, it was “Ragen,” a Yugoslavian identity, who had taken over and committed the robberies. However, Ragen knew nothing of the rapes. They were carried out by a 19-year-old lesbian named “Adalana,” who committed them without Billy knowing. There were others like Arthur, an Englishman, and Tommy, an escape artist. Experts concluded there were about 10 personalities before further treatment later brought out 14 more.
Billy was diagnosed with multiple personality disorder (now known as dissociative identity disorder) and used that as his defense. He was ruled competent to stand trial after doctors reported that his 10 personalities had “fused.” His lawyers had him plead not guilty by reason of insanity. After Billy waived his right to a jury trial, a judge sided with the defense and found him not guilty. He was later sent to a mental institution in Athens, Ohio, a minimum-security facility.
How Did Billy Milligan Die?
Billy was moved through multiple institutions throughout Ohio, and as per the docuseries, his medication was changed at one point, affecting his progress. He was given unsupervised furloughs initially in Athens, and he painted as well, selling his art for a high price. He escaped from one of the hospitals in July 1986, remaining on the run for a few months until being arrested in Florida in November the same year. By 1988, experts believed there was no more evidence of him switching personalities. He was allowed outpatient treatment before his final release in 1991.
In the years after that, Billy’s life was seen as an intriguing story, receiving attention from Hollywood, but that never panned out. The state of Ohio asked him to pay for the treatment he received throughout the years. He later filed for bankruptcy while living in California. He was also arrested for threatening a judge over there. Eventually, he moved back to Ohio, and in 2012, was diagnosed with cancer. Billy succumbed to the disease on December 12, 2014, at Mount Carmel East Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. He was 59 years old at the time of his death.