Apr 17, 2014 fbook icon twitter icon rss icon

Insanity Defense

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11Jeremiah Wright Found Not Guilty in Murder, Decapitation of Son

Being a parent—in the most basic sense—is instinctual. Despite the circumstance, there is a deep-seated need to protect one’s children, or at least there is supposed to be. However in the case of Jeremiah Wright—not the Chicago preacher who once ministered to the Obamas—that instinct was silenced, if it was ever present at all.

On a Sunday in August, 2011 police were called to the Louisiana home that Wright shared with his partner of a decade Jesslyn Lirette and their son, seven year-old Jori who relied on a wheelchair to get around due to cerebral palsy. This was not the first time they had been called to the residence, Wright and Lirette had police intervene in a loud argument just a month previously, according to True Crime Report. However this time, they were responding to reports of a small human head in their driveway.

After a particularly bad fight, Wright may have believed Lirette was finally going to take the advice of her family and friends and kick Wright out of the home. So when she left to get her truck repaired, Wright allegedly beat his son to death, decapitated him, and stuffed the body into the trash. He was arrested and a judge ruled Friday that Wright was not guilty of the murder by reason of insanity.

According to CBS News, “prosecutors agreed to the ruling of insanity and that Wright will be returned to the state mental hospital in Jackson [La.] where he had been held.” Wright told police in a sworn statement that he had seen “signs” which led him to believe that rather than living with his son, he was instead caring for a “CPR dummy.” In fact throughout the statement, Wright referred to his child as “the dummy,” and said he was both defecated and urinated on the morning of the murder.


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11Accused Murderer Shows Up In Court With Swastika Carved Into Forehead, Claims Insanity

A self-proclaimed racist accused of murdering two people in 2009 appeared in a Brockton, Mass., court this week with a swastika carved into his forehead. His defense attorney said Thursday that his client has a history of mental illness and is not criminally responsible for a seemingly racially motivated raping and shooting spree.

Keith Luke, 26, is accused of raping and shooting a 22-year-old neighbor and fatally shooting her 20-year-old sister Selma Goncalves on Jan. 21, 2009. Furthermore, he is accused of firing on other people who tried to help one of his victims. Luke also allegedly shot and killed 72-year-old Arlindo Goncalves, who was not related to Selma, as he was walking down the street. All of the victims were from Cape Verdean.

The shooting spree ended in a car chase and a shootout with police.

He told authorities that he wanted to kill “nonwhites” because he was “fighting extinction” of the white race.

When he first appeared in court in May 2009, Luke had a bloody cut on his forehead where he had cut a swastika symbol into his skin. Now the mark is noticeable scar.

Seven security officers escorted Luke into Brockton Superior Court this week where he apparently grinned during the jury selection and made a silly face to a news photographer.

The jury heard that Luke stockpiled tools described as “sexually sadistic and meant for rape and torture” in his room and his van. Gag balls, box cutters, handcuffs, hammers, hatchets, and a sledgehammer were found after his arrest.

Luke faces 18 charges, including two murder counts, six counts of armed assault with intent to murder, armed kidnapping with sexual assault, and four counts of aggravated rape. He also allegedly told police that, back in 2009, he intended to attack a synagogue near his home.

Outlining a history of mental illness, his attorney, Joseph Krowski Jr., claimed Luke “was not criminally responsible for the acts he perpetrated upon those people.”

He said psychologists who evaluated Luke before the 2009 shooting spree “warned that it would happen.”

Krowski painted a picture of a detached Luke who was “cold as ice” during the crimes.

Prosecutor Frank Middleton called Luke “a sexually frustrated, angry young man bent on revenge” for every women who rejected him.

‘‘His plan as he indicated to police over and over was not to use the gun when he went into his victims houses,’’ Middleton said. ‘‘He wanted to kill them manually, he wanted to kill them stealthily, he wanted to use this hammer.’’

Sources: Daily Mail, Boston.com


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11Judge Declares Alleged Killer Nanny Yoselyn Ortega Fit To Stand Trial

A New York City judge has decided that the nanny accused of slashing two Upper West Side children to death is fit to stand trial, but it won’t happen quite yet because her lawyer is challenging the ruling.

Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Gregory Carro announced that after a pair of court-appointed psychiatrists examined Yoselyn Ortega multiple times and reviewed "the rather voluminous medical records" in the case, they both found her sane.

The court psychiatrists also decided that Ortega was able to understand the charges against her and assist in her own defense, according to New York Post.

"I'm moving to controvert," Ortega’s lawyer, Valerie Van Leer-Greenberg, told Judge Carro after hearing the decision.

"You want two weeks to review?" asked Carro.

"Actually, a little longer, judge," said Leer-Greenberg.

Since the defense is challenging the finding, both sides will have a chance to submit papers to Carro. The judge could conduct an open-court hearing, or he could rule immediately. Depending on what he does, the process could take months.

Ortega is accused of murdering two children who were in her care back in October. The reasons for the killings are unclear. It is expected that her lawyer will try to use an insanity defense should the case proceed to trial. May 6 is Ortega's next court date.

Sources: New York Post, CBS News


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11Aurora Gunman James Holmes Will Face The Death Penalty

Colorado prosecutors have reached the decision that James Holmes deserves to die for killing 12 people in an Aurora, Colo., movie theater last July.

Their decision comes after Holmes’ offer to plead guilty to the shooting in exchange for receiving life in prison was rejected by prosecutors.

Arapahoe County district attorney George Brauchler said in court: “For James Eagan Holmes, justice is death.”

The key issue in the impending trial is Holmes’ mental health at the time of the shooting. Holmes’ defense team will try to prove that the 25-year-old former neuroscience student was legally insane when he carried out the brutal crime.

His lawyers have yet to enter an insanity plea, but they have made it clear that their defense will be based on his mental state. They have previously called him “mentally ill,” according to the New York Times.

The district attorneys made their decision after consulting with many of the victims and their families. When the prosecutors made their announcement, some of the victims’ family members began crying.

Bryan Beard lost his best friend, Alex Sullivan, in the shooting. He was pleased with the court’s decision. "I had a huge adrenaline rush," he said. "I love the choice, I love it, I love it ... I hope I'm in the room when he dies."

It could take years for the case to be resolved, a prospect that does not sit well with at least one of the victims.

"It could be 10 or 15 years before he's executed," said Pierce O'Farrill. He was shot three times during the attack. "I would be in my 40s, and I'm planning to have a family, and the thought of having to look back and reliving everything at that point in my life, it would be difficult."

Sources: New York Times, USA Today


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