Sunday, May 4, 2008

Insanity Defense is Insane

Josef Fritzl 'will plead insanity' to dodge prison;
Josef Fritzl, who fathered seven children with his daughter while keeping her locked in a dungeon as a sex slave for 24 years, will plead insanity to avoid a prison sentence.

Lawyers for Mr Fritzl, 73, will argue that he was not responsible for his actions and will try to acquire a certificate of insanity...

Colonel Franz Polzer reported that Elisabeth, Kerstin and Stefan were kept in a single narrow room designed to be a nuclear shelter from 1984 until their father started expanding their prison in 1993.

Colonel Polzer said: “She [Elisabeth] said that there was only one single room at first. The dungeon was expanded as the children were getting born.” In the first nine months of her captivity, Elisabeth was kept tethered on an extended cable, resembling a dog leash, which allowed her to reach the lavatory but otherwise restricted her movement.

The life in the narrow concrete cube also meant that the children would witness how Fritzl would sexually abuse their mother. The children are now being treated in a local clinic together with their mother and grandmother.

Doctors have installed an aquarium with goldfish for Stefan, 18, who is having difficulties speaking and moving in open space after years of captivity. They have also brought teddy bears for Felix, who is seen as having the best chance of recovering from the ordeal.

Authorities have stepped up security around the Amstetten-Mauer clinic, where the family are being treated, after several violent incidents involving reporters attempting to enter the premises. One reportedly dressed as a police officer and tried to walk in at the front door. The Austrian Cobra antiterrorism unit has now been deployed to secure the hospital.

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