Man Who Allegedly Beat 78-Year-Old Needham, Massachusetts Man is Arrested

The man charged with beating 78-year-old Robert J. Moore Sr. to death with a bat-like object reportedly has been suffering from mental health problems, says a missing report that his wife filed with police in Norwood last August.

41-year-old William B. Dunn was working as a contractor and installing a lawn sprinkler system at Moore’s home when an argument broke out between the two men and Dunn reportedly attacked the elderly homeowner. Moore sustained extensive head injuries. His daughter-in-law Nancy was hospitalized at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center because of injuries she sustained while trying to stop the attack. Her son, Jamie, who had been painting outside, found his mother bleeding on the basement floor.

Police searched for Dunn for hours after the murder. Schools were locked down for up two hours after classes ended. Dunn was captured in a marsh close to route Route 128. His arraignment is scheduled for Monday.

According to the missing person report, Dunn was voluntarily committed to the psychiatric ward of Norwood Caritas Carney Hospital. His wife filed the missing person report after he left the ward.

Moore’s slaying was the first homicide in Needham, Massachusetts since August 1989.

The Insanity Defense
The insanity defense is a plea that claims the defendant is not guilty of a crime because he or she does not have the mental capacity to know that what he or she did was wrong. The “irresistible impulse” defense-allowable in certain states, lets defendants claim that they knew they were committing a crime but they lacked the ability to stop themselves.

In Massachusetts, the effectiveness of the insanity defense in a criminal case can depend on whether the accused can determine between right and wrong when he or she committed the crime.

The American Psychiatric Association says that 80% of cases in which a defendant is found not guilty by reason of insanity are the result of a plea bargain between the defense and the prosecution.

Brutal slaying puts Needham into lockdown,, November 3, 2007
Slay suspect had mental health problem,, November 4, 2007

Related Web Resources:

Experts: Insanity pleas don’t often work, The Patriot-Ledger, March 12, 2005
Mental illness tough to prove in court, Post-Gazette, May 7, 2000
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