Saturday, 14 June 2014

The Murder of Maybelle Schein

What is guaranteed to make a defendant claim his crimes were due to diminished responsibility?  In the USA, it is a trip to Death Row, and over here, it is the prospect of 30+ years in the slammer.  What had Miss Schein done to warrant a cold blooded and completely motiveless murder?  This was what a jury in Sioux Falls, South Dakota took into consideration when they sentenced James McVay, 43, to death.  His defence was that he was out to kill none other than President Obama, but could not get to Washington DC.  He had no car, so in July 2011, he entered the house of 75 year old Miss Schein and stabbed her to death whilst she slept.  He further claimed that in order to carry out the hit on the President, he had to kill first in order to prove to Satan that he was ready to do it, and was worthy of him.  Believe that and you will believe in Santa Claus.

    His defence of mental illness was backed up by tales of McVay being given Heroin & Meth-amphetamine from the age of ten by his mother who naturally, giving that stuff out was an addict.  And to get money for that she would have to sell herself on street corners.  She was also a hooker.  His claim that his illness was also due to booze, crack & prescription drugs.  mental illness is an abnormality of the brain, not something brought on by drugs and booze.  When somebody kills another whilst they are tanked up on booze, mental illness will never be a defence.  All these do is remove inhibitions, and make violence and murder more acceptable.  They remove the accountability.  They remove empathy.  Normal barriers are smashed down.  It is self-inflicted.  The jury did not buy any of this, but saw the crime for what it was and just how dangerous McVay is.  An old ruling is still used as a benchmark for cases of mental illness.  That is the M`Naughten ruling going back to around the 1880`s when a man tried to kill the Prime Minister, but it was decided that if a defendant knew the difference between right and wrong, then he is of sound mind.  McVay attempted suicide whilst on remand by saving up anti-psychotic tablets that had been prescribed for him.  He had the sense of mind, to secrete them and plan his suicide.  Not mentally ill was he?  But this man`s violence cost the life of an old woman whom had never done anybody any harm.