Insanity DefenseJoseph C. McAndrew, Jr, 25, of Upper Merion, who is accused of killing both his parents on March 5, 2011, has filed papers with the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas indicating that he intends to assert an insanity defense at trial. McAndrews, who allegedly killed both his parents Joseph C. McAndrew and Susan McAndrew with a sword, is essentially notifying the District Attorney’s Office that, at the time of the crime, he suffered from a mental illness that rendered him incapable of appreciating the quality and nature of his act or  that he was incapable of knowing that what he was doing was wrong.  If a judge or jury were to believe such a defense it could result in acquittal for McAndrews.

McAndrews faces charges of first and third degree murder and his trial is currently scheduled for October. Currently, McAndrews is being held in the Regional Forensic Psychiatric Center at the Norristown State Hospital while the D.A.’s office has sought to have him transferred to the Montgomery County Correctional facility on the basis that he is competent to stand trial and that the community would be safer if McAndrews were in jail.

As a Montgomery County Criminal Lawyer, I can tell you that the odds of being able to get out a crime that you committed by alleging that you didn’t know what you were doing at the time it happened are pretty long.  This is due in large part to the fact that   the burden is on the defendant to convince the jury that he was crazy – the Commonwealth need not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that McAndrews was sane.  We’ll see.

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