THIBODAUX (AP) — A man accused of beheading his disabled 7-year-old son and leaving the head in his yard appears to really believe that the boy was a robot or a ventriloquist’s dummy, two defense experts have told a judge.
Psychiatrist Sarah DeLand and psychologist Robert Storer told state District Judge John LeBlanc they don’t think Jeremiah Wright, charged with first-degree murder of Jori Lirette, is faking a delusion, The Daily Comet (http://bit.ly/WBlO0K) reported.
Lirette, who had severe cerebral palsy and little speech, was killed Aug. 14, 2011.
His mother, Jesslyn Lirette, said she will comment after LeBlanc decides.
Wright seems to understand the legal proceedings and the charges against him, but the delusion has persisted in the 18 months since he was arrested and will hinder his ability to assist his attorneys, they testified.
Both said Wright thinks his son was really a government social experiment. DeLand quoted Wright as telling her, “I don’t believe they can do anything to me because it wasn’t a real person. His skull was made of plastic. He had foam in him.”
Testimony continues through Thursday in the sanity hearing.
LeBlanc must decide whether Wright can help his attorneys and is fit to stand trial or whether he must return to a psychiatric hospital. If he is tried and convicted, the only possible sentences would be life in prison or death by injection.
After treating Wright for nine months, doctors at the state mental hospital in Jackson declared him competent and returned him to the Lafourche Parish jail last year.
DeLand and Storer work for the Eastern Louisiana Mental Health System, which runs that hospital. Their opinions are based on two or three meetings each with Wright.
DeLand testified that, after speaking with Wright last week, her third meeting with him, she concluded he may have schizoaffective disorder or schizophrenia.
Information from: Daily Comet, http://www.dailycomet.com