Defending Parricide Offenders

Kathleen M. Heide

in Understanding Parricide

Published in print December 2012 | ISBN: 9780195176667
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199979028 | DOI:
Defending Parricide Offenders

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This chapter discusses defense strategies in parricide cases. It highlights the importance of the early involvement of mental health professionals in helping defense lawyers understand the dynamics that lead sons or daughters to kill their parents. It explains the law of self-defense, with special attention to battered child syndrome (BCS), given its relevance to youths who kill their abusive parents. Parallels between battered woman's syndrome and BCS are examined. The chapter concludes with a review of other mental health status defenses, most notably the insanity defense. Adult parricide offenders are more likely to be found not guilty by reason of insanity (NGRI) than adolescents. NGRI judgments are more common among adult parricide offenders than younger parricide offenders because adults who kill parents are more likely than their adolescent counterparts to have a documented history of severe mental illness and to be delusional at the time of the killing.

Keywords: defense strategies; legal defense; parricide cases; adolescent parricide offenders; mental health professionals; battered child syndrome; battered wife syndrome; insanity defense

Chapter.  15634 words. 

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