Opinion: Insanity

POSTED: 11/25/11 12:39 PM

Is Curtley R. insane? Is he playing a game? That question came up yesterday in court when the man’s attorney pleaded his case in court. Curtley is not your everyday criminal. He is involved in three murders, a gang rape, and several armed robberies. The story is pretty ugly, and we have reported extensively about it this week.

In fact, the story is so ugly, that Curtley’s attorney more or less said in court that he was actually ashamed to be there, defending a man who had caused so much misery. The attorney did his job “with a heavy heart” though he pleaded with the court to leave his client some perspective and not to sentence him to life in prison.

Curtley, it appeared, has a low IQ. His intelligence rates below 69. Researchers say that 95 percent of the population has an IQ that ranks between 70 and 130. People with an IQ-score like Curtley are considered feeble-minded. A test score between 50 and 70 indicates mild mental retardation.

Curtley’s attorney noted that his client’s psychological evaluation suggests that he is fully responsible for his actions. But is this really true? he wondered.

He attorney said that he had been unable to maintain a normal conversation with his client, and his conclusion was that the defendant is insane.

Ho, wait a minute, one of the prosecutors remarked. The attorney is not able to draw such a conclusion, because he is not an expert in behavioral science.

Point taken.

The prosecutor added for good measure that Curtley is manipulative. And what is easier than manipulating an IQ-test? she said. This is of course true: Curtley took about twice the time to answer questions in the IQ-test, thereby giving the impression that he is, so to speak, dumb as a brick.

But during the trial on Wednesday, he suddenly came up with a remark that falls outside the scope of people with an extremely low IQ. I am not computer-literate, he told the judge.

When the court case concluded yesterday morning, Curtley got the last word. And what did he say? First of all, that he was sorry for what he had done.

Yeah, duh. Together with his buddy Sherwan he killed three people, raped a woman (and possibly several more), robbed several others and ill-treated a woman who turned down his bid for her love.

Then, manipulative Curtley, who did not turn a hair on Wednesday when the prosecution demanded life imprisonment against him, put the icing on the cake. He mumbled that he did not know how to apologize properly to the victims and to the families of those who lost their lives in the process. So he offered his organs.

We suspect that nobody will take him up on his offer, unless he was ready to give up all of his organs right now.

It was a weird conclusion to a trial that was marked by the cruelty and violence the defendants used on their victims. And what stood out even more is that the defendants did not show any emotion. So for all we know, they could very well be insane. It is therefore in everybody’s interest to keep Curtley and his pal Sherwan (who is only 20) behind bars forever.

For Sherwan such a conviction would be extra bitter, given the fact that he is much younger than Curtley. If both men live until the average age of 75, the youngest defendant will sit twelve years longer in jail than his 32-year-old partner in crime.

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