In my previous post on this story, I said I’d explain more what the insanity defense is and isn’t. Aside from the possibility that this defendant may have committed two murders over 23 years ago and had been walking around scott-free until this parental kidnapping charge, this whole story doesn’t merit an asterisk in a conversation.
That being said, Gehartstreiter’s (or, as he’s been referred to elsewhere, “Whateverhisname’s”) defense lawyers are going to have one hell of a hard time convincing a jury that this defendant was legally insane to the point where he should be acquitted of this charge. The reason for this is that, in order for a jury in Massachusetts to find a defendant “not guilty by reason of insanity”, it must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was not just mentally unstable, but so mentally ill that he or she could not comprehend or understand the criminality of his conduct, or comprehend the difference between (legally) right and wrong. As a Massachusetts criminal defense lawyer, I don’t doubt that Gehartstreiter’s lawyers can demonstrate the Gehartstreiter suffers from Narcissistic Personality Disorder, or that he harbors delusions of grandiosity. The defense’s psychological experts can make that clear fairly easily (as could reportedly almost anyone who has spent ten minutes with this defendant.)
But insane to the point of not recognizing or understanding the criminality of his conduct in crafting an elaborate plan to abscond illegally with his daughter, assaulting his daughter’s social worker, then crossing multiple state lines in an attempt to avoid capture? A single juror’s simple question: If he were so insane that he didn’t comprehend the criminality if his conduct, why the elaborate escape plan to run and hide?
Gehartstreiter’s defense team (ever recognize how losers like this guy – recall OJ – always have not just one defense lawyer, but defense “teams”?) will do their best, as they are ethically and duty-bound to do. But in my professional opinion as a Massachusetts criminal defense attorney, they shouldn’t hold their breath.
And neither should the rest of us.