View Full Version : Interesting article (from a psychiatric point of view)

Dec 1st, 2004, 07:06 PM
stumbled across this article today and it really intrigued me...

Psychiatrist: Teen Sniper Suspect Insane
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By ADRIENNE SCHWISOW, Associated Press Writer

CHESAPEAKE, Va. - Sniper suspect Lee Boyd Malvo "displayed a pathological loyalty" to John Allen Muhammad and was so brainwashed by him that he no longer knew right from wrong, a defense psychiatrist testified Wednesday.

Malvo "was merged with Mr. Muhammad," Diane Schetky said at Malvo's capital murder trial. "He was acting as his ***** ... He was like a puppet in his hands."

Schetky was the second defense witness to diagnose Malvo with a dissociative disorder, a mental illness that involves a distorted view of reality.

Malvo's attorneys are mounting an insanity defense in the death of FBI (news - web sites) analyst Linda Franklin, one of 10 people killed during the three-week shooting spree in the Washington, D.C., area.

Schetky, who twice interviewed Malvo in jail, said Malvo "displayed a pathological loyalty to Muhammad" and confessed to being the triggerman in the killings when police suggested that the shooter would be the one who took the rap for the crimes.

Malvo, 18, has since recanted his confession and said Muhammad was the triggerman in nearly all of the shootings.

On cross-examination, Schetky said she didn't question Malvo extensively about his specific behavior during the sniper shootings, saying his responses to such questions were robotic and provided little insight.

As Malvo trained for the sniper spree, Muhammad taught him that emotions were the enemy and should never be allowed to interfere with his paramilitary mission, Schetky said Tuesday.

Muhammad told Malvo that "if his conscience was bothering him, he should lock it up in a box and throw away the key," she said.

Schetky testified Tuesday that Malvo latched on to Muhammad as a father figure when Muhammad cared for him on Antigua in 2000. After Malvo went to Bellingham, Wash., in 2001 to live with Muhammad, Schetky said Muhammad convinced Malvo that "right and wrong" are artificial constructions that have no real meaning.

Prosecutors argued Tuesday that Malvo was a willing participant, noting that Malvo twice ran away twice from his mother and chose to be with Muhammad.

Prosecutors are expected to put on their own mental-health expert, who has been meeting with Malvo since before the trial started Nov. 10.

Or course this an extreme example, but taking away the criminal ingredient and leaving only the psychiatric part, this article just made me think of Patty's relationship with Hofmann, the isolation from her family, and how her personality has changed so radically especially in the last couple of years from somebody who was shy and reserved, to being much more aggressive and attention-seeking.