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Can You Be Really Nuts for a Really Short Time?

Discussion in 'Alley of Dangerous Angles' started by Aldeth the Foppish Idiot, Aug 21, 2007.

  1. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

    Aldeth the Foppish Idiot Armed with My Mallet O' Thinking Veteran

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    I am speaking of the court case involving Mary Winkler.

    Short version:

    She shot her husband dead, but claimed at the trial that she suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, did not remember the incident, and had entered an "altered state of consciousness" when she killed her husband. She was not found guilty of murder, but instead involuntary manslaughter. She was sentenced to just 7 months in prison, and got credit for the nearly 5 months she spent in prison awaiting trial. Her remaining 67 days of imprisonment were spent at a mental institution where she was treated for PTSD, and now, she claims, she is free of PTSD and entering a court battle to regain custody of her 3 kids.

    Now, the article says she was abused, and there seems to be little to no doubt that such a thing happened. However, my question is this: If you truly say that you killed someone because you were not in your right mind, received 67 days of treatment at a mental institution, should you really get your kids back?

    To me, it's saying, as the topic implies, "I was really f'ing nuts, but only for a really breif time." I was under the impression - and the article supports this - that PTSD can be retriggered at nearly any time, even if years have passed since you suffered your last episode. The article also states that fully treating a severe case of PTSD typically takes significantly longer than 67 days.

    It all seems a little too convenient. If her husband abused her, that's definitely bad, but I am quite skeptical of these claims. It seems awfully convenient that you can get rid of the husband, cop an insanity plea, and then go right back to living your normal life just seven months later. How covenient indeed. So what do others think? Plausible scenraio or beating the system?
     
  2. NOG (No Other Gods)

    NOG (No Other Gods) Going to church doesn't make you a Christian

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    Yeah, I'm pretty sure PTSD is a lasting thing, not likely to be cured in 2 months. Also, while 'abused spouse syndrome' may apply for her defense, PTSD probably wouldn't, as her episodes would leave her huddled in the corner or something, not bashing something's brains in. As I understand it (and I'm not a psychologist) PTSD produces flashbacks to the point of trauma, which can potentially be triggered by something totally unrelated, but you think and act like you were back in that situation. If the trauma were abuse, you would act the same way you did when you were suffering the abuse, which probably wasn't fighting back. The real danger of PTSD (to other people) is when the trauma is from something like an attack, or combat action, where you were reacting violently.

    I think this lady's full of it, and while the killing may have been justified, she wasn't suffering a mental break at the time. Either that or her doctors are just as troubled as her.
     
  3. Gnarfflinger

    Gnarfflinger Wiseguy in Training

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    The Verdict should have been Not Guilty by reason of Self Defence. The guy beat her repeatedly, I have no sympathy for the deceased.

    PTSD is likely a life long problem. While she may be safe to return to society, she will still have a lifetime of treatment to go. I don't know what kind of support she can give her kids as a now single parent...
     
  4. Ragusa

    Ragusa Eternal Halfling Paladin Veteran

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    That's what I always find remarkable about killings, voluntary and involutary — the span of possible sentences — here effective two months vs. imprisonment for life, or death penalty.

    Of course she was probably justified in what she did. Family tyrants are the one group of cases where usually woman are the culprits, and usually deservedly so, get quite mild sentences. I have yet to hear of a man shooting his abusive wife, and getting away mildly. So it appears that there is an unwritten 'that poor woman bonus'. Which is probably a good thing as the legal system strives to achieve justice, at least that's the overarching idea.

    Whether she had PTSD is another question. I don't know. Probably. Anyway, I do not really believe one can be cured of it in 67 days. Would that be so the US armed forces wouldn't have that veteran care problem. But PTSD is well known, I-have-heared-of-it well known. So maybe the PTSD was a necessary fiction in order to get a just verdict from that jury? Just like her being cured completely might be another fiction to get her children back? Would that be so bad?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 29, 2017
  5. Iku-Turso Gems: 26/31
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    Well the thing is that even if she's suffering PTSD it might not have an effect on her parenting. With the appropriate therapy and medication she might be able to take care of her children as well as anybody. But in order to get back custody she can't be :nuts: and after such a situation the welfare's just going to keep the kids away from her unless she's cured.

    The problem might be the poor knowledge of what PTSD is. I don't think that it makes it impossible for her to be a parent for her kids, as long as she gets psychiatric help. Getting her kids back will likely even help her recovery.

    One thing that makes me wonder is that I think that nobody in their right mind goes out and kills anyone. So yes, I do think she's suffered from some sort of mental illness, the problem is that what ilness exactly and exacts in psychiatry are rather problematic. But if she's not psychotic and not likely to suffer a relapse with the appropriate treatment, then she should be able to raise her kids.

    67 days is short, but there are no set limits for how long it takes until you can act well enough for society's needs, especially not with PTSD. Relapse is possible, but with her husband gone it's not likely to happen with such devastating results in the foreseeable future.

    (and what do you know, I would've saved a little time if I'd read the article before I wrote this...)
     
  6. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

    Aldeth the Foppish Idiot Armed with My Mallet O' Thinking Veteran

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    @Gnarff - Oh, I certainly don't feel badly for the dead husband. As you said, he beat her repeatedly. The reason that they couldn't do a self defense plea is that she wasn't being abused at the particular time she shot him.

    @ all - I'm not even particularly concerned with the relatively light sentence, or even questioning how justified she was in this. I obviously don't know all the facts of the case, but evidently it was enough to convince a jury that she was only guilty of involuntary manslaughter (which is the least possible charge you can get for killing someone), and a judge that it didn't merit a sentence greater than a few months.

    I will further assume that the judge is a fairly intelligent person, and that the jury is a representative cross-section of the population and thus should be considered to have an average total intelligence. From all of this, I have to assume that the defense at her trial was quite convincing.

    What I have a problem with is what happened after that. To claim that she is "cured" of PTSD in just two months and now wants her kids back and wants to go back to life as normal. It's almost as if this was the desired outcome from the beginning. Of course, if this was the planned outcome, then there is premeditation, which throws the involuntary manslaughter charge out the door.

    It totally depends from what perspective you look at it. It definitely isn't so bad from her perspective. If she had an abusive husband and just wanted him dead, then this is probably not so bad from the kids perspective either. If, however, her defense was false and she literally got away with murder, then it's not so good from a justice perspective. Of course, this brings up another interesting point from your quote...

    You are basically saying that it's OK to outright lie - completely fabricate a reason - in order to get a "just verdict". Do you truly believe that? That it's OK to make up a reason you did something in order to be held less accountable for your actions? That sounds like a very very slippery slope.
     
  7. The Mountain Hare Banned

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    It sounds like a complete load of crapocola to me. What boggles the mind is how some posters here say that the man 'probably had it coming'. How do you know this? What objective evidence is there that he abused his wife, apart from her own testimony?

    I think it's a pity that the guy can't defend himself in a court of law, given that he's dead.

    Oh, and what was this 'abuse' that led to her shooting her husband? From her initial statement:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Winkler
    ****. (Oh, yeah, she made up the claim of 'years of abuse' later on, when she was on trial. Go figure *rolls eyes*).

    If I ever get married, and my wife keeps nagging me about every little detail, I'll buy a 12 gauge and gun her down. And when arrested, I'll cry 'PTSD' and get off with a 7 month sentence. How can people swallow this BS?!

    By the way, 'self-defense' is when you, umm... DEFEND yourself against violence being inflicted against you, or against the looming threat of immediate violence (eg. someone running at you with a knife). It doesn't involve grabbing a shotgun and shooting an unsuspecting guy in the back while they are in bed, possibly asleep.

    [ August 22, 2007, 15:14: Message edited by: The Mountain Hare ]
     
  8. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

    Aldeth the Foppish Idiot Armed with My Mallet O' Thinking Veteran

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    The only problem with the plan is being a man, you won't get charged with invountary manslaughter and you won't get a 7 month sentence. As a man, you'd be charged with first degree murder and given the death penalty.
     
  9. The Mountain Hare Banned

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    No, I'd claim that my wife forced me to participate in sexual acts which made me feel uncomfortable. I'd produce the nipple rings and leather underwear as 'evidence'.
     
  10. T2Bruno

    T2Bruno The only source of knowledge is experience Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Temporary insanity is a defense that has been used many times. It is especially useful in cases of long term abuse. I recall a very amusing case where the plea was used and failed (going from memory here)... the woman had suffered long term abuse at the hands of her husband and finally snapped. She shot her husband six times and claimed she was just kept firing and firing out of reflex (basically asserting she had no control due to her state of mind at the time). Although there had been presidence before for such a defense, the judge didn't buy it nor did the jury. It seems she made a little mistake in planning her crime -- she only purchased a Derringer. During the fight with her husband she reloaded twice.
     
  11. Oaz Gems: 29/31
    Latest gem: Glittering Beljuril


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    At least with respect to PTSD? A class in Abnormal Psychology makes me say no. Abuse like that can certainly result in one or more mental disorders, but it's not as if they'll last for a few days.
     
  12. Death Rabbit

    Death Rabbit Straight, no chaser Adored Veteran Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    I don't know, but I can really be short for a nuts time.

    /end smartass

    I haven't given this subject too much thought, but I will say this. I, like most people, don't like being hit over the head. It's really no fun. But I have noticed that whenever I bonk my head particularly hard - be it a cabinet, a pole, or even when I'm hit with something, accidentally or no - I immediately am overcome by an almost feral rage. I can't explain it. I literally want to rip someone to shreds for a good 10-15 seconds after the blow to the head. It doesn't happen very often, mind you - maybe once every year or two. But the reaction has been so intense and remarkable that I can't help but notice a parallel. I think if I were ever to be mugged, and they did bonk me on the head, they'd be in for a world of hurt.

    In short: I do believe that short-term, irrational, uncontrollable rage is legit. The causes of such rage, however, are highly debatable and should never be taken at face value, especially when it's used as a justification for a violent crime.
     
  13. chevalier

    chevalier Knight of Everfull Chalice ★ SPS Account Holder Veteran

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    Laws have a construct of "affection", as in, "homicide in affection." It reduces culpability. "Limited accountability" is another, offering a partial exculpation. It is also possible to be in a state of total inaccountability at the moment of the putative crime, even if you aren't permanently in such a state.
     
  14. Gnarfflinger

    Gnarfflinger Wiseguy in Training

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    I look at the release from a treatment centre as saying the worst of the disorder is over, now it's time for her to get on with her life. She'll still need treatment, but she has recieved all the help she can get in the hospital.
     
  15. Barmy Army

    Barmy Army Simple mind, simple pleasures... Adored Veteran

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    What a nutter. To say she is going to go back to lead a 'normal' life is far from the truth. She will have to live with the fact that she killed her children's father and how they may feel towards her as they grow up. She will also have to live with the continued sniping of others and I have no doubt she will be brought up whenever another case comes to trial.

    Can of worms opened here big time.
     
  16. chevalier

    chevalier Knight of Everfull Chalice ★ SPS Account Holder Veteran

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    Obviously, if someone has the capacity to enter into murderous rage out of the blue, it's stupid to assume it won't occur again.
     
  17. Drew

    Drew Arrogant, contemptible, and obnoxious Adored Veteran

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    And the prosecution would find this thread where you talked about how and why you'd kill your wife and how you planned to get away with it....at which point you'd probably be looking at an even worse charge than before.
     
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