Greyhound Killer...not guilty?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Mar 06, 2009 3:20 AM GMT
    The man that brutally stabbed, beheaded and cannibalised a passenger on a Greyhound bus last summer has been found not guilty.

    He has been deemed a schizophrenic and will be locked up in a psychiatric hospital until he is no longer considered a threat to society.

    Hospital or jail, what are your thoughts?
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    Mar 06, 2009 4:29 AM GMT
    My problem with the insanity defense is where do you draw the line? While the person may not be in their right mind at that particular moment what led them to that point? Did they make the decision to go off their meds? Have they been abusing alcohol or other drugs (substance abuse rate is high among people with serious mental illness). If he hadn't been diagnosed with schizophrenia before he committed the crime, why did it take so long for someone to intervene? What happens when he's deemed sane enough for society, and then he goes back off his meds and repeats. The crime was grizzly and horrific.

    Serial killers are also twisted and demented, but because there is no clear cut diagnosis for being a twisted sociopath, a lot are deemed in their right mind.

    What about sexual assault, armed robbery, assault and battery, and other forms of non-premeditated homicide? A lot of these crimes occur when someone is under the influence of a substance. Are the people in their right minds when they're under the influence or seeking out a drug? One could argue no, since Addiction is a disease according to the DSM IV which has all the criteria for mental illnesses. Schizophrenia's in there as well.

    In the end someone's always responsible. It could be them because of a decision they made while they were balanced. It could be that they have been abusing drugs and alcohol all along? A doctor? Another caregiver? Family? Who's going to take the heat?

    The guy is capable of terrible things, most schizophrenics, and other dissociative disorder patients are not running around with people's heads under their arms on greyhound buses. He needs to be institutionalized indefinitely at best. The stipulation of when he seems normal we'll let him out is extremely unsettling to me. Then whose fault is it? The judge's? The institution's?

    This type of occurrence at his hands doesn't need to happen again, but the sentencing seems like setting the pins back up to me.
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    Mar 06, 2009 4:42 AM GMT
    I'm kind of torn on this issue. I read a lot (way too much, really) about serial killers and Jeffrey Dahmer has always fascinated me. I mean, what do you have to do to be considered insane? The guy drugged men (and a boy), drilled holes into their skulls and poured muratic acid into their brains in order to turn them into zombies. He would also strangle them until they passed out, then revive them only to do it again. Do I need to mention the fact that he ate them in an attempt to "gain their power" and was in the process of turning their bones into an alter? This guy was in serious need of medication!

    I think there are some serious problems with the american legal system. Justb take a look at out country's drug laws. The only thing arresting people for using drugs will do is increase the price of drugs, thereby causing more drug related crime. Drug abuse iisn't the problem, it's a symptom of a larger problem.
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    Mar 09, 2009 3:36 PM GMT
    When this murder happened, I suspected that the perpetrator was suffering from schizophrenia. Schizophrenics, if they are suffering from symptoms, are psychotic (basically out of touch with reality). Undoubetdly he was hearing voices in his head that he thought were emanating from the unfortunate victim. Therefore, he could not differentiate between right and wrong, which is the classic legal definition of insanity.

    Often paranoid schizophrenics will have an obsession with religion and God. Scientists theorize that it is linked to the neurotransmitter Dopamine (which is also linked to Parkinson's Disease).

    Across all cultures schizophrenia occurs in about 1% of the population which points to a very strong genetic link. It often has its' onset in the teen or early adult years which gives rise to the suspicion that the change in the human brain caused by puberty is one of the main triggers.

    He will actually spend more time confined away from society then if he went to prison (probably the rest of his life). An all around tragic situation.
  • Timbales

    Posts: 13993

    Mar 09, 2009 3:39 PM GMT
    An animal that killed a human and ate part of them would put down.

    A human does it and "will be locked up in a psychiatric hospital until he is no longer considered a threat to society"? Makes no sense to me.
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    Mar 09, 2009 3:42 PM GMT
    Hmm. Well he is clearly criminally insane, and should not be in the general public. I know someone who was on that bus, and I'm sure he would agree.

    But on the other hand, being in a general jail population will not do this person any good, nor give any chance of rehabilitation. An institution will provide a better, albeit, still unlikely chance of rehabilitation.
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    Mar 09, 2009 3:47 PM GMT
    he doesn't deserve 'rehabilitation.' i agree with the dog analogy. he should just be put down. as it stands, our tax dollars are supporting his continued existence.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Mar 09, 2009 4:41 PM GMT
    xKorix said It's like modern society has gone codependent.

    The insanity defense isn't some self-indulgent postmodern invention. The "McNaghten Rule" dates back to a crazed attempt to assassinate Benjamin Disraeli.
  • GQjock

    Posts: 11649

    Mar 09, 2009 5:00 PM GMT
    Does this surprise you?
    Like this guy WAS sane when he did this?
    This guy isn't gonna be given an Rx of Prozac and sent on his merry way
    This man is Very Deeply disturbed and is likely going to be spending probably the rest of his life under constant care
    If you're mad at anybody be mad at the mental health care system that allowed a dangerous man like him to roam the streets and do something like this
  • NickoftheNort...

    Posts: 1416

    Mar 09, 2009 5:18 PM GMT
    Institutionalization for life or until he is deemed mentally competent. Upon the latter, lifetime in jail (with the possibility of parole based on the determination of a parole board and a board of qualified psychiatrists).

    ***
    "Where do you draw the line?" On a case-by-case basis with regard to the criminal act being tried and circumstances prior to the act (such as refraining from taking proscribed medication or seeking assistance from medical professionals prior to the incident).

    I believe that when the defendant's failure to distinguish between right and wrong is due to drugs or alcohol (or the dependency upon such substances), this does not count as "insanity" as the person willingly entered into an altered state of consciousness (and may even have committed a crime in doing so).

    I may be wrong on this, but I believe a more apt comparison would be between a schizophrenic person and a developmentally disabled person (rather than a habitual drug user).

    I also believe a repeated crime does not fall under the definition of insanity, partly because the person has a) had time to reflect on his/her actions and, b) had time to seek out professional help for his/her ailment.

    As for treating him like a dog: he's human, hence, we treat him as one. We treat dogs differently because we engage in a general understanding of dogs (and other non-human animals) as lesser or not as equal to ourselves (in terms of species). We kill dogs (and other animals) that have killed humans because it is our customary response and out of a fear for repetition and an inability to control that possibility. We could institutionalize dogs as well, but have chosen not to do (partly due to costs and deeming it a pointless endeavor).
  • UncleverName

    Posts: 741

    Mar 09, 2009 5:32 PM GMT
    To continue on with the dog analogy, we don't treat dogs because they can't verbally communicate with us (among other reasons). We can't use the same techniques to gauge progress with mental disorders with dogs as we can for humans. For dogs, it's flat out impractical. Further, we (as a society in Canada, according to our laws) value human life higher than we do animals.

    In terms of this specific case, I haven't really read anyone on here posting with any real knowledge of schizophrenia. In Canada at least, doctors are extremely hesitant to diagnose someone with that particular mental disorder, and even when the doctor is leaning that way, it takes around 10 years of observation before they will diagnose. Treatment doesn't really start until that diagnosis. Meanwhile, the person dealing with voices in their head has to continue to live and work in society. With the voices in their head all of the time.

    I have had to think about a lot of these things, as someone close to me probably is schizophrenic. They haven't been diagnosed yet, so we don't know for sure. Until they are diagnosed (which is probably never), should they be locked away? They are probably pretty high risk of doing something off the wall and harmful to others.

    I agree with how Canada's laws currently work, specifically how they pertain to the case of the Greyhound Killer. The changes that need to be made is that MD's need to become more educated in terms of this mental disorder, and they need to be able to diagnose people with schizophrenia much faster, so that these people can get access to the limited treatments that are available.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Mar 09, 2009 9:32 PM GMT

    It's not easy to be found not guilty by reason of insanity. The standard is hard to meet.

    In this particular case, there seems to be enough evidence to find the killer not guilty by reason of insanity in more than one way.

    It's easy to understand people's anger and fear about what this guy did. And the public has a perfect right to expect to be protected from him. I expect he will be in a secure hospital for a very long time - maybe for the rest of his life. Certainly the bar should be set very high for him to be deemed no longer a threat.

    As is often the case, our attention is grabbed by an extreme case. Here in the US we have a crisis right under our noses: our jails and prisons are full of mentally ill people who committed crimes, are not receiving appropriate treatment and will eventually be released to become sicker and commit more crimes. One of the saddest and sickest things I've seen was an exit interview with a bipolar guy being released after serving 10 months for petty larceny. The guy is considered disabled by his mental illness and so could get something like $660 a month in social security. But he's not qualified for medicare. The meds that were keeping him stable in jail cost more than $400 a month. Three weeks later he was arrested again, totally off the rails. He hadn't been able to complete the paper work for social security, was off his meds, living on the street, was picked up after stealing food and held on suicide watch til the nurses in the jail got him medicated again. He's looking at 18 months in prison now.

    In financial and in human terms this is a very expensive way to deal with mentally ill people.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Mar 09, 2009 10:00 PM GMT
    In the US, the prison system is so overwhelmed with bullshit drug offenses and legislatively mandated x-strikes-and-you're-out laws that we can't keep up with truly violent criminals or attempt to medicate schizophrenics. I realize this is not exactly the issue in this Canadian killing, but the Canadian cases tend to be isolated and utterly random.

    I remember in my old hometown when a state budget was passed that cut funding for hospitalization for the mentally ill, these cast-outs became homeless panhandlers. It was pathetic; as petty crimes increased, jail space became filled.

    It's possible that once medicated this psycho will understand his actions and become filled with a sickened remorse. I think only at that time would it be moral to discuss a sentence for him.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Mar 09, 2009 10:16 PM GMT
    Ask the victims family.
  • coolarmydude

    Posts: 9190

    Mar 09, 2009 10:20 PM GMT
    I never heard of this story.

    Call Agent Mulder.
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    Mar 09, 2009 10:26 PM GMT
    I grew up with a schizophrenic....my uncle. I can tell you that they dont live in reality. They see and hear things even when on their meds. My uncle hallucinated people all the time. He had an imaginary wife that he talked to thru the radio in his bedroom.

    The bizarre situation in the US now is that you cannot commit these people without their consent. My mom tricked him once to go to the hospital when he needed it by faking a phone call from President Clinton. She told him the president said he wanted him to go to the hospital. My uncle said he couldnt contradict the president and signed himself in.

    As tragic as the murder is, I would institutionalize the man.....and then go find the people that let him run loose!
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    Mar 09, 2009 10:27 PM GMT
    growingbig saidAsk the victims family.
    The psycho has a family too. I think both families' needs should be discussed.
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    Mar 09, 2009 10:33 PM GMT
    mickeytopogigio said
    growingbig saidAsk the victims family.
    The psycho has a family too. I think both families' needs should be discussed.


    Caslon9000and then go find the people that let him run loose!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Mar 09, 2009 10:52 PM GMT
    I think deinstitutionalization took things in the wrong direction. For so many years we saw news bits about the deplorable conditions in psychiatric wards. I think the advertised effort of deinstitutionalization was to close down these sad prisons, but maybe it was more nefarious; politicians saw it as an easily sold cause for slashing funding and appearing more frugal to appeal to tax-weary citizens.

    I've got my fingers crossed that this will be reversed.
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    Mar 10, 2009 12:12 AM GMT
    Deinstitutionalization was a devil's bargain between the left and the right. The left thought that society shouldn't curtail anyone's liberty to embark on his magic voyage of individual reality. The right didn't want to be taxed to pay for anything. The result is lots of mentally ill people living under bridges, with occasional tragedies like this one.
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    Mar 10, 2009 12:55 AM GMT
    TexDef07 saidDeinstitutionalization was a devil's bargain between the left and the right. The left thought that society shouldn't curtail anyone's liberty to embark on his magic voyage of individual reality. The right didn't want to be taxed to pay for anything. The result is lots of mentally ill people living under bridges, with occasional tragedies like this one.

    A loving home is the best place for a sufferer of schizophrenia to live if the family can take care of him. My uncle lived 20 years longer than the expected life span of someone with his condition. First, my grandmother cared for him and then my mom. A home provides a loving situation that protects him from the harsh conditions of living with other patients. But there were times when he just needed hospitalization for observastion as the drs got his med dosages correctly adjusted.

    And such a life is so sad. He didnt ask to be sick anymore that we asked to be gay. His whole life wasted in the grip of that illness.
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    Mar 10, 2009 3:36 AM GMT
    not enuf info to make an informed call.... gut reaction says jail
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Mar 10, 2009 3:52 AM GMT
    Clearly the man had issues before and during the incident. To a certain degree you have to feel sorry for the man. On the other hand you have to feel sorry for the victims. Regards of his unfortunate illness he still committed a crime. Merely sticking him in a hospital doesn't real solve anything. You basically just give him a false hope and a chance to hurt someone again. At least in jail you have the feeling and sense of security that justice will be served behind bars.

    I would say jail.
  • NickoftheNort...

    Posts: 1416

    Mar 10, 2009 10:28 PM GMT
    Caslon9000 saidA loving home is the best place for a sufferer of schizophrenia to live if the family can take care of him. My uncle lived 20 years longer than the expected life span of someone with his condition. First, my grandmother cared for him and then my mom. A home provides a loving situation that protects him from the harsh conditions of living with other patients.

    This raises a question though: given that, in this case, your grandmother and then your mother took care of him and performed a service for the larger society, should the state have compensated them for their work? Did the state offer any kind of compensation?

    Unpaid labor by mothers and grandmothers is one of biggest swindles our societies have ever pulled.