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Man defends felonies charged in shooting of two officers

News reports indicate that the man being held in the attempted murder of two New Hampshire police officers has suffered from schizophrenia for many years. In a prior incident of violence, he was apparently suffering from schizophrenic episode when he beat his father in 2012. In the current case, he was charged with attempted murder felonies after shooting the two officers while they were chasing him because he fit the description of an armed robbery suspect.

Fortunately, each officer is recovering, and both attended the defendant's recent preliminary hearing. The details of the shootings and the scenario of events is sketchy but it is alleged that the suspect shot one officer in the leg and the other in the face and torso. He entered not guilty pleas at the hearing.

Criminal defense counsel will have a duty to investigate thoroughly the man's mental health history to evaluate the nature of his mental illness, if any, and to determine if there is a connection with the current incident. Furthermore, defense counsel will pursue the details of the chase and the shooting, which could contain critical facts that may assist in the defense. It is unknown whether the man was shot at by the police, and it is not clear whether he in fact was the person that the police were actually seeking in the robbery.

If the defendant was suffering from a mental condition that made him unable to appreciate the criminal aspects of his behavior, as that defense is defined under New Hampshire law, he may have a case against the charges. In order to go forward with that kind of defense, however, he will have to be examined by medical doctors, and reports will be issued with professional medical opinions on the subject. If the defendant is guilty of the felonies charged, defense counsel may use another approach and attempt to obtain reduced charges, perhaps based on the information provided by the man's medical history.

Source: koamtv.com, "The Latest: Records link cop shooter suspect, mental illness", May 16, 2016

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