Often, when criminals are finally apprehended and carried through the court system, many of them concoct strategies in their defense. Though every person is innocent until proven guilty, the defendant never knows what the prosecution will use in their tactics. A common plea, is guilty by insanity. Often this is a mere ruse to escape prison time or death sentences. In many cases when the insanity plea did work in their favor, they wound up doing more time in a psychiatric detention center, and served more time than what a prison sentence would be. It must be proved without a unreasonable doubt, typically with evidence, that the defendant is in fact insane.
Ajua Bail Bonds would like to revisit some notorious and infamous criminal cases when the insanity plea was used and sometimes successfully.
1. Esposito Brothers – ‘Mad Dog Killers‘. In Manhattan of 1941, two brothers, Anthony and William Esposito, robbed a payroll truck. They killed two people in the process; an office manager and a police officer. During their trial, they tried to prove insanity with extreme behavior. They would bark, drool, attempt to cry uncontrollably, and even bang their heads on a table until they bled. It was too extreme, for the court was convinced they were not insane. They were both incarcerated. Near the end of their time, before execution, they both went on a hunger strike and refused food for almost 10 months. In their frail, near-death state, they were executed on March 12, 1942. The Esposito trial holds the record on deliberation, returning the guilty verdict within a minute of delivery!
2. Jeffery Dahmer. Apprehended in 1991, Jeffery Dahmer had an extensive crime spree in the 13 years from his first homicide in 1978. But even as a child he would be withdrawn, avoiding social interactions. After finding dead animals, he would dissect and mutilate them. His first murder in 1978 was a hitchhiker he picked up. Because “he wanted to leave, and I didn’t want him to..” Dahmer bludgeoned him to death. His criminal activities would eventually brand him a registered sex offender and continue his blood thirsty ways. Along with consuming the biceps and hearts of his victims, he would also collect trophies, such as genitalia, skulls, and other body parts. Ending his criminal career, a would be victim was able to overpower him, and seek the assistance of a police officer. During Dahmer’s trial, he plead not guilty by reason of insanity, but was unsuccessful and convicted of all 15 murder counts, though everyone speculated more. He was sentenced to serve 15 consecutive life sentences but was murdered in prison in 1994.
3. Mary Winkler. At the age of 32, Mary Winkler would kill her husband by shooting him with a shotgun. In this case, she used the temporary insanity plea. After years of physical and mental abuse by her husband, the jury believed her plea, and convicted her of voluntary manslaughter. She was sentenced to 210 days in a mental facility, but was released after 67 days.
4. Jennifer Lynn Bigham – This Patterson California mother who drowned her 3-year-old daughter walked away a free woman in 2013 after she was found not guilty by reason of insanity and a judge deemed her fit to reenter society after three years of treatment and incarceration.
There are many other cases in which severely disturbed defendants would attempt to secure their release on reasons of insanity. Some were won but most lost. In any case, if you or a loved one has been arrested, and need to post bail, trust in the experienced experts, ready to serve you 24/7.