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Mother of a mass murderer

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Months ago, when we set out to discover who Jason Hamilton really was, one of the first calls we made was to Rebecca Achord, Jason's mother. She was not ready to talk about her son and the massacre that he perpetrated on Moscow. This week, hours before we went to press, Achord called to talk about Jason.

"I'm just now getting over the fact that it's not my fault," she said. "I raised him and he's a grown man."

Achord went to Moscow to clean out Jason and Crystal's house after police had processed it as a crime scene. She recalls the stares of officials who she felt blamed her and her large extended family for the shooting.

Achord believes that police delayed their reporting and told her things that turned out not to be true. She believes that psychologists in Moscow and Lewiston failed to diagnose her son and refused to admit him when he begged for help, giving him tranquilizers and sending him home. She thinks the system failed him.

She knew he was disturbed, though she never imagined anything like the violence that he wrought on Moscow.

"There were little things that he would do that we thought were cruel," Achord said. Like rapping Crystal on the head with his fingers, for which Achord chastised him.

Achord gave her son books on dealing with rage. She told him to seek help. She counseled him on his marriage.

He listened to her sometimes. But in the end he only heard his demons.

—Nathaniel Hoffman