Man convicted in death of boy found stuffed in an oven
SAN ANTONIO - Jurors rejected a Beaumont man's insanity defense Wednesday and found him guilty of murder for smothering his girlfriend's 6-year-old son and stuffing the boy's body in an oven last year.
Kenneth Pierott, 28, faces up to 99 years in prison.
Jurors deliberated for just under four hours Wednesday before determining that Pierott knew it was wrong to kill the child.
Pierott showed no emotion as the verdict was read. His brother Daniel left the courtroom.
Defense attorneys had claimed that Pierott was mentally ill and didn't know smothering the boy was wrong.
They presented evidence that Kenneth Pierott sometimes thought he was God, believed others could read his mind and killed 6-year-old Tre-Devin Odoms in an effort to protect his then 2-year-old son with his former girlfriend, Kathy Odoms.
Two court-appointed experts, who evaluated Pierott, determined that he was insane at the time of the killing.
Prosecutors, however, told jurors that Pierott waited until Kathy Odoms fell asleep before smothering her son in April 2004, used a quiet method to kill the child and left the house when Odoms awoke and began looking for Tre-Devin.
I want to know if the State had a doctor or doctors who testified that he was sane. The articles don't mention it. So that makes me wonder if they just contested the defense experts saying the defendant was insane with the facts of the case, alone. If so, then it makes you wonder why Deana Laney went one way and this one another. Maybe because if a mother kills her kids she must be crazy, and if a man does it, he's just mean. Calling Ed Shettle and anyone else who tried that case.
These cases turn on very narrow points - and much depends upon the manner in which the expert, however construed (for the court, for the state, for the defense), presents the evidence obtained.
I have no specific knowledge of the details in either case, but note that the media report viz. San Antonio is that the degree of intentionality involved in the act and what were construed as attempts to avoid immediate confrontation for it, had much to do with the jury's conclusion that the defendant knew his conduct to be wrongful.
A high degree of, or intensity of, mental health problems are not dispositive of a determination of sanity. Though a sine qua non for an insanity defense, mental illness does not insanity make.
Who wants to wager me that we'll be hearing about this case in Austin on Tuesday when the House Criminal Jurisprudence committee takes up the Senate's insanity procedure bill, a bill that does NOT change the definition of insanity?
Bank on it ...
Pretty hard to argue that the current system protects when the guy had previously killed someone, raising the same insanity defense afterward. And, it seems in both cases, defendant's mental issues resulted from his deliberate refusal to maintain medication.
But, that doesn't mean there is anything wrong with the definition of insanity. How would anyone change the definition, based on this case. You are insane if you deliberately refuse to medicate?
It seems to me it ought to be like intoxication...Voluntary insanity is not a defense. If you do not take your meds you can't claim insanity.
Yes, I know "these cases turn on narrow points", but sometimes, too, the jury can just look at the guy and they think he's just plain scary. And don't you know this guy was. Kill kid, put him in the oven = scary. So, did the jury get to hear about how he killed his sister in punishment? I guess even though he was NGRI, that's still an admissible extraneous. I don't know how anyone can, with a straight face, argue to the legislature that they should change the definition of insanity in the face of this verdict. Surely this case illustrates how the definition is right where it should be.
You are "preaching to the choir" I suspect.
I do have an opinion on the issue of medication compliance viz. an insanity defense: The notion of "voluntary insanity" is specious.
First, insanity is a legal and not a medical concept. It is not a state per se, but that which results from a legal conclusion, not necessarily related to the mental illness of the defendant, save that mental illness is a sine qua non for such a conclusion. But, at least since 1983 when the second prong of the ALI defense was removed, the defense trades on a strictly cognitive principle, that - because of mental illness - the defendant did not know his conduct to be wrong. In the presence of such knowledge, then even severe mental illness, with command hallucinations, is irrelevant. Perhaps sad, but irrelevant.
Second, very much a part of several common psychiatric disorders is medication noncompliance. In fact, Jennings' rule is that "you always give the patient what they don't want..if they want medicine, they don't need it, and if they don't want it, they probably do (need it).." We do not penalize the person for noncompliance as if it were evidence of moral laxity. For it is not. We do set up structures to more adequate monitor disturbed persons.
Third, there are legal mechanisms for forced medication - but only to persons subject to court ordered mental health services. Not only the general public, but even the legal profession are often too unwilling to rely on procedures for civil commitment, or to make such processes go smoothly in every country.
However, adequate funding of outpatient mental health services, at costs but a fraction of what it costs to incarcerate someone after the fact, would vastly and significantly decrease the frequency of bizarre acts by disturbed persons --- whether subject to criminal penalty or no.
The careful expert, in any case, will attempt to apply the law to the facts of the individual case, not merely because the defendant "looks scary", though he/she may, but in honoring the rule of law and setting aside personal judgments. The jury, however, may accept all, some, or none, of the expert's opinion..
Floyd -- we'll probably let you slide this once, but generally, we don't allow people on this site who use phrases like "sine qua non."
That sounds like ipse dixit to me, but mea culpa, mea culpa. "I have erred and strayed from thy ways like lost sheep, I have followed too much the devices and desires of my own heart, I have offended against thy holy ways...have mercy on me" for I have forgotten too little those years of high school latin.
On't-day et-lay it-a appen-hay again-a, Octor-day.
Cut the man some slack! He earned with this quip:
That's a great catch, that Catch-22.
Supremes agreed today to address two attempts to constitutionally expand insanity defense.
|Powered by Social Strata|
© TDCAA, 2001. All Rights Reserved.