A few Observations and Judgements on a book written by Dorothy Otnow Lewis


How many of you remember the famous NGRI legal precept back in the 70s and 80s?  The NGRI  “defense” or Not Guilty Reason Insanity is why Mark Becker,Andrea Yates, and John Hinckley were not killed by the state for murdering people. Becker’s story was particularly disturbing as his shyster lawyers manged to convince “a jury of his peers” that the retarded man really thought he was killing Satan.  This writer certainly has contempt for this travesty of a defense. Even if Becker really did believe he was killing Satan, he should still be extinguished just in case he happens to be sitting next to somebody else he fancies as Satan!

My heart missed a beat as I strolled down a library isle and randomly noticed the tome GUILTY by REASON of INSANITY subtitled A Psychiatrist Explores the Minds of Killers. The title alone, after all, suggests the author Yale professor Dorothy Otnow Lewis also scoffs at the notion of declaring a murderer insane as a legitimate reason for not electrocuting him/her.

My assumption could not be further from the truth. Lewis never rendered an opinion on the validity of insanity being an acceptable reason for making a killer immune from the legal consequences of their morbid actions.  She seemed much more interested in describing her personal interactions with murdering psychopaths like Ted Bundy almost bragging she was the last woman to kiss him.  She had very intimate conversations with the serial killing  Floridian learning that Bundy masturbated a lot to release tension which prevented him from killing college girls long before he actually started.

She also described how a 36 year old woman who had murdered a teenager suddenly transformed to an aggressive male in the middle of an interview. Duh….wouldn’t anybody do that if they though it would spare them from lethal injection or Old Sparky?(Criminals usually know the law better than law abiding citizens) She foisted it off as her discovery that split personalities or schizophrenia are real mental disorders.

A little factoid than I was unaware of prior to reading Dorothy’s magnum opus,  is just before somebody on death row is to be electrocuted, prison guards shove voluminous wads of cotton up their ass to prevent involuntary defecation as electrical current flows through their body ridding the world of another waste of human flesh.

The one service or upside provided by her book is the detailed and simple nature of her interviews with serial killers like Arthur Shawcross will help alert readers to  be aware of those in their environs, perhaps even a coworker, who might be head case murderers. In that regard her book was a worthwhile pursuit for its assistance to humanity.


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