Brief Fact Summary. The Defendant, Wilson (Defendant) killed the victim, Jack Peters, because he believed that Jack Peters and his son, Dirk Peters, were attempting to control his thoughts.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. A defendant does not appreciate the wrongfulness of his actions if a mental disease or defect causes him to harbor a distorted perception of reality and to believe that under the circumstances as he honestly perceives them, his conduct does not offend societal morality even if he is aware that the criminal code forbids his actions.
The Defendant and Dirk Peters attended high school together and the Defendant became acquainted with the victim Jack Peters through Dirk Peters. In early 1993, the Defendant began to believe that Dirk Peters and the victim Jack Peters were destroying his life. The Defendant believed that Dirk Peters had poisoned him and hypnotized him to gain control of his thoughts. In fact, the Defendant believed that the victim Jack Peters was the mastermind of a large organization bent on controlling the minds of others. The Defendant eventually began to contact the authorities regarding the conspiracy. The police told him that it was impossible to investigate the allegations. On August 5, 1993, the Defendant went to confront the victim Jack Peters at his house. The two quarreled, and the Defendant shot and killed the victim Jack Peters.
Issue. How is the term “wrongfulness” defined for purposes of the affirmative defense of insanity?
Held. A defendant does not “appreciate the wrongfulness of his conduct