A Massachusetts jury spent more than 3 ½ hours deliberating the fate of Clark Rockefeller before going home for the day. The 44-year-defendant is charged with kidnapping his 7-year-old daughter last summer. During closing arguments, the prosecution had urged the jury to think of the defendant as controlling, self-centered, and an expert manipulator-albeit with a personality disorder-Rockefeller’s defense attorney argued that his client suffers from an acute mental illness and that it was “pure madness” that drove him to take his daughter.
He also contended that there is no way that Dr. James A. Chu, the psychiatrist for the prosecution, could have properly diagnosed his client after just one 2 ½ hour session. The defense noted that its own mental health experts, who were trained in forensics and had evaluated dozens of defendants in the past, met with Rockefeller 14 times for a total of 28 hours.
Rockefeller had pleaded not guilty to the kidnapping charge by reason of insanity after he abducted his daughter on July 27 during a supervised visit. They traveled to Maryland and he was arrested six days after they disappeared. His daughter Reigh was found unharmed. He is also is charged with assault and giving police a false name.
Rockefeller’s Massachusetts kidnapping case has drawn national attention in part because of his interesting backstory. His real name is Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter and he reportedly has used five different aliases over the years, including pretending to belong to the famous Rockefeller family.
He later married Sandra Boss, who is Reigh’s mother. Boss says she never doubted her husband’s personal history until she hired a private investigator when they got a divorce in 2007. Rockefeller’s attorney claims that Rockefeller “went over the edge” after Boss filed for divorce and he lost custody of his daughter. Rockefeller believes his daughter was using telepathy to tell him that she needed to be saved.
‘Clark Rockefeller’ kidnapping case goes to jury, Google/AP, June 8, 2009
Defense closing: Rockefeller not ‘playing with a full deck’, Boston.com, June 8, 2009
Related Web Resources:
Clark Rockefeller Case Timeline, Boston.com
Massachusetts Laws, Justia
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