A Chicago man has recently been charged with his father’s murder, according to a recent news report. The suspect allegedly both strangled and stabbed his father to death. The cause is unclear, but prosecutors believe the man was on drugs at the time of the murder. An uncle, who was tasked with being the father’s caretaker, reported that the son appeared to be out of his mind. He continually apologized to his father as he was killing him. A grandmother who also lived in the same building called the police. The suspect was taken into custody and has since been charged with first-degree murder.
Analyzing the Mental Health Defense
Insanity defenses are tricky for a number of reasons and seldom work. The reason they do not work is that “insane” people, or those who are fighting mental health issues, can do things for good or bad reasons. For example, an insane person can believe that their father is blocking them from accessing untold riches that do not really exist. They’re insane, but their motive for committing murder is purely selfish. On the other hand, an insane person can believe that their father is possessed by a demon, already dead and that they are doing a good thing for the world by killing the father. Not only are they insane, but their delusion leaves them believing that they are doing something good when they are actually causing a great deal of unnecessary harm.
In the latter case, you have an actionable insanity defense. In the former case, you have a deluded—but evil—intention.
However, holding an individual who believes they are improving the world to the same standard as an individual who thinks they will get rich off a death is not something that our legal system does. That being said, motives mean everything in a first-degree murder trial.
If the case goes to trial, it will likely result in a guilty plea because it looks like the defendant was trying to cause the father pain. Most people who are trying to get rid of a demon would be remiss about using a weapon as violent and personal as a knife. That would show the jury that the defendant wanted to inflict pain and would likely unravel a moral insanity defense.
The moral insanity defense only works when the defendant is attempting to do something good, but it’s not good. During a trial in which an insanity plea is on the table, the burden of proof shifts to the defendant to establish that they should not be held responsible for the murder. In most cases, they don’t just walk out of court and go back to their normal lives. Instead, they are placed in a psychiatric facility until a psychiatrist says they are okay to rejoin society. Alternatively, the defendant could be charged with second-degree as opposed to first-degree murder. None of those options are really good for the defendant.
Talk to a Chicago Criminal Defense Lawyer Today
David Freidberg represents the interests of those charged with serious crimes in Chicago. Call today at (312) 560-7100 to set up an appointment, and we can begin preparing your defense immediately.