Posts Tagged “calwyn fearon”

Hartford Superior Court, Hartford, CTIn a slightly New Agey variation on the old excuse “the Devil made me do it,” a man being tried for murder insists “ghosts made him do it.” The Hartford Courant reports on this so-called “defense” (WebCite cached article):

A man who claimed ghosts made him shoot and kill his girlfriend inside their Hartford apartment last year waived his right to a jury trial in Superior Court Thursday.

Calwyn Fearon instead decided to be tried before a panel of three judges. He is charged with murder and is in custody with bail set at $1 million.

Fearon was arrested March 21, 2009, a couple of days after the shooting. He told police ghosts were taunting and making fun of him, according to a police report. His girlfriend, 52-year-old Sharon Tyrell-Barnaby, was the “Head Ghost,” and he had had enough, police said he told them.

At the outset, let me say that, if Fearon is genuine in his claim to have been compelled to kill by “ghosts,” he might very well be mentally ill. However, I assume that — by this point — the courts have evaluated his mental health, and if the trial is proceeding, they must be sure he’s at least competent to stand trial. And if mental illness is the reason he killed his girlfriend (again, I concede this is very possible), a more valid defense would be that he’s mentally ill, not that ghosts made him do it.

Connecticut, unfortunately, has a history of appeals to the supernatural in murder trials. Nearly 30 years ago, Arne Johnson — a young man accused of murder — tried to plead “not guilty by reason of demonic possession” in court (cached article). This plea was disallowed by Connecticut law, and a defense of “demonic possession” was not permitted at trial, despite the defense attorney’s desperate attempts to shoehorn it in. This case had some notoriety back in the early 80s, to the point where even now, it has its own Wikipedia page, under the moniker “Demon Murder Trial.” Since that time some of the members of the family involved in that incident have spoken out against the paranormal investigators who’d led them to believe that Johnson had been “possessed” by demons — the locally-famous Ed & Lorraine Warrenand are suing over the matter (cached); the Warrens had sold the family’s story to author Gerald Brittle but the family had gotten almost no compensation for it, and they also claim the Warrens and Brittle had made false claims about them.

It looks like history is repeating itself in Connecticut courts. How nice.

Photo credit: jimmywayne.

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