On November 27, 1978, former police officer Dan White shot and killed San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and city Supervisor Harvey Milk, the first openly gay person elected to public office. The victims were shot at City Hall in front of many witnesses, so there was no doubt that White was the killer, but at trial his attorneys argued that White’s depression made him temporarily insane and not responsible for his crimes.
Photos of the troubled Andrea Yates and her family eleven years after she killed her five children by drowning them one by one in the bathtub.
Sylvia Seegrist, unable to buy her tranquilizers one day, went to the Springfield Mall in the Philadelphia area and started shooting. A young man finally subdued her, but by then, many had been killed. Her case initiated legislation about the mentally ill and a great deal of controversy over whether someone so disturbed is capable of understanding right from wrong.
We’ve been following the case of Autumn Wood, an 18-year-old from Alabama who allegedly stabbed a younger girl at a party last month. Recently denied youthful offender status, Autumn has now reportedly pleaded not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect.
On January 26, 1996, eccentric, crazed and paranoid millionaire John du Pont drove to the home of Olympic gold medalist David Schultz, who lived on du Pont’s estate, and killed him while his horrified wife watched. Armed to the teeth du Pont was able to hold off police for days. Even so his insanity defense failed.
Late last month, Pedro Hernandez – the confessed killer of 6-year-old Etan Patz back in 1979 – was moved to Riker’s Island from his bed in Bellevue Hospital’s psychiatric ward. But that doesn’t mean Hernandez is in a right state-of-mind, and it certainly doesn’t make this an open-and-shut case for prosecutors.
After three days of deliberations, a Rancho Cucamonga jury deemed Anthony Orban sane at the time he kidnapped and raped a 25-year-old woman. Now the former Westminster police detective faces 75 years to life in prison.
In the summer of 2010, the Flint, Michigan area was terrified by a stabbing spree that left six people dead and nine more wounded. Elias Abuelazam, 35, has been implicated in the crimes.