Autistic Citizens Accused

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People in the Asperger's community are not saying their disorder neatly explains the killings. In fact, some are upset that Freund's crime is being linked to Asperger's. "What bothers me is the implication that there's something about Asperger's syndrome that causes people to do this kind of thing -- kind of, 'Look out for the dangerous Asperger people,' " said Jerry Newport, 57, who founded a Los Angeles support group for people with autism and Asperger's in 1993. He now lives in Tucson and travels frequently to speak on the topic. "The only connection you can make between Asperger's and what happened is that his Asperger's syndrome may have set him up for ridicule as a child," Newport said.
Rosie Mestel, Los Angeles Times
There is no direct link between Asperger's syndrome and criminal behaviour, research in Wales shows. Several recent media reports have suggested the syndrome as a cause of anti-social and threatening behaviour. But the study of over a million people in Wales found "very little data" to link the mild form of autism with criminal behaviour.
Hywel Griffith, BBC Wales
Luckwill had first been made the subject of a three year community rehabilitation order in July 2003 for a first set of offences, but carried on undeterred... Frank Phillips, defending, said Luckwill genuinely had Asperger's. But Judge Keith Thomas said while that might be the case he did not accept that Luckwill had a syndrome connected with his offending. The society said the judge had made it clear in court that there was no evidence to suggest Asperger's was responsible for Luckwill's offences.
Colin is bewildered by all the attention. He insists he was just tapping his teacher's shoulder, trying to get her attention so she would let him call home... Sacramento psychologist Joe Morrow went further: "I believe that no psychologist or psychiatrist that I am familiar with would think that the criminal justice system is the appropriate venue for dealing with the behavior problems attendant to Asperger's."
Erin Kennedy, Fresno Bee
A teenager says she's happy to be home and resting after five days in a U.S. detention center because of a bad joke at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. The teen's father, John Van Egmond, said it took some effort for him to reach the right officials and persuade them to relent, partly because she has a mild form of autism called Asperger Syndrome that can affect social skills and hinder clear thinking in stressful situations.
Associated Press
Sanderson said the case reached court only because the District Attorney's Office did not know Colin had a neurological disorder when police submitted their case... The case has drawn criticism from psychologists and mental health workers, some of whom sent letters to the District Attorney's Office condemning prosecution.
Erin Kennedy, The Fresno Bee
Disability charities have expressed concerns after an autistic man from Yorkshire was handed a temporary antisocial behaviour order to curb his odd tendencies. The order against Mark Smith, who has Asperger syndrome, bans him from touching people and saying inappropriate things in public. The condition has been described as a type of autism which affects social and communication skills but IQ is often normal or high. Mr Smith, 32, has also been told he cannot stroke or sniff any part of a person or hang around a certain area when children are going to or from school. The interim order was granted by Bingley magistrates after an application by Bradford Council which said a previous Asbo against Mr Smith had been successful in limiting his obsessive behaviour.
Andrew Robinson, Yorkshire Post
Yes, some people with autism can be obsessive. Yes, some people with autism can be aggressive. And, of course, they have problems with social functioning. But it is an incredible leap in logic to make a connection between autism, a developmental disorder, and the types of personality disorders that lead some people to kill. It makes about as much sense to conclude that children who don't eat lima beans will be more likely to commit murder in adulthood if we were to find that nine out of 10 murderers didn't like lima beans. Just because people share one characteristic doesn't mean any other relationship is valid.
Nancy Cason, Sandy Shaw
Clovis Unified spokeswoman Kelly Avants said people called the district asking for clarification on Colin's case and wondering why the district was pressing the issue in court. Avants explained that Colin's teacher, Alstema Jackson, filed a police report after the March 8 event without the district's knowledge.
Erin Kennedy, Fresno Bee
TWO P-platers who tormented a female motorist by teaming up against her had engaged in highway terrorism, a Colac court heard yesterday. Romesh Eagle, 19, and Craig Boyd, 25, singled out the victim as payback because she failed to dip her headlights as she drove towards Camperdown about 8.30pm on April 14. Eagle, of Manifold Street, Camperdown, pleaded guilty yesterday to driving in a dangerous manner. Anthony Marasa, for Eagle, said his client had no previous driving offences and was following directions from the co-offender. Mr Marasa said his client suffered from Asperger's syndrome, a condition that could cause sufferers to act inappropriately without intending to. He said the co-offender - Boyd, of Weerite - had already been convicted and fined a total of $1035.80 and had his licence cancelled for six months.
Warrnambool Standard
According to MacFarlane, two JPD officers responded to their home in the 400 block of Cherry Street and issued 22-year-old D.J. MacFarlane a citation for shooting firecrackers inside city limits. D.J., who has Asperger's Syndrome, became upset and began to cry and hit himself, approximately 20 feet away from the officers, MacFarlane said. Asperger is a type of autism, which causes D.J. to have uncontrollable fits when he becomes upset.
April Barbe, Jacksonville Daily Progress
Over the past couple of weeks, there have been a few posts dealing with AS individuals who have found themselves "on the other side of the law." Newspapers and the media love sensationalism, and there's nothing quite as juicy as a tie-in between mental health conditions and aberrant behavior.
Roger N. Meyer
Delores Davies has healed from the hammer blows that her grandson Andrew Lubeck rained onto her in November. Skull fractures and a broken arm put her in the hospital, but she holds no grudge. "Andy's not a criminal," she said. A Rock County court agreed.
Sid Schwartz, Gazette
The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is to manage an inquiry into the arrest of a young Asperger's syndrome sufferer. The man, 18, was held on suspicion of causing criminal damage on 15 July and taken to Stourbridge police station. He was released without charge wearing a white paper suit given to him by West Midlands Police, and arrested again the next day, still wearing the suit. His mother complained about her son's treatment, sparking the inquiry.
BBC News
THE fate of a 18-year-old man who pleaded guilty in the Maroochydore District Court to stalking a woman at her Warana home last year could depend in part on whether he is found to be suffering an autistic disorder. Judge John Robertson yesterday said that one psychiatrist had found that Cameron Scott Raddatz suffered from Asperger's syndrome in a clinical assessment made before the stalking charge.
Sunshine Coast Daily
On Saturday morning, Freund put on a dark cape and paintball mask and entered a neighboring house, killing Christina Smith, 22, and her father, Vernon, 45. He then shot at a house across the street and tried to fire at a neighbor, but the shotgun jammed. Then he walked home and killed himself with the shotgun.
Los Angeles Times
Cottrell was charged with damaging or destroying about 125 vehicles at dealerships and homes last year... The defense will argue that (AS) makes him incapable of arson conspiracy. They claim Cottrell could have been duped into participating in the vandalism spree.
KESQ News Channel 3
11-year-old boy who has Asperger's Syndrome was forced to shut down his lemonade stand. CBS 3's Cydney Long reports he was selling the juice at a festival, when the organizers shut him down. Tyler Lucca was trying to raise money for a digital technology summer camp trip to Seattle.
CBS 3
Psychologist William Stejskal testified that Pham likely had borderline autism or possibly Asperger syndrome, a similar developmental disability. Years after leaving Vietnam, Pham withdrew from the world, and about 1998, soon after his mother died, he began gambling heavily, Stejskal said. But Fairfax Commonwealth's Attorney Robert F. Horan Jr. called on his own expert, who found no evidence of mental stress. During several interviews, Alexandria psychologist Stanton Samenow said, Pham did not express remorse.
Washington Post
A former Boy Scout counselor who snapped a picture of an 8-year-old boy in a bathroom stall at Arundel Mills, storing the photo on his camera phone in a folder called "Bathroom Boy," was ordered yesterday to undergo psychiatric treatment.
Capital Online
AN Adelaide father-of-three who illegally imported enough firearms parts to make two automatic machine guns and possessed more than 900g of ecstasy, has been jailed for seven years. David Neil Modra, 39, spent about $1370 buying gun parts that were valued at $28,000 from the United States over the internet.
Courier Mail
Piers Bolduc, 28, was put on powerful drugs which he did not need and held at the hospital since he was 19, despite not suffering from mental illness or having any convictions.
Telegraph UK
Peter J. Grabko, 25, of Lower Paxton Twp., was driving on Paxton Street Thursday with his brother Joseph D. Grabko in the passenger seat when they came upon a fatal accident. Peter Grabko, who would like to become a professional photographer, grabbed his camera and began shooting photos of the accident. His brother Joseph, 18, who has autism and other mental disabilities, picked up a miniature audio recorder and began interviewing witnesses. Their actions got the attention of Swatara Twp. police. Before long, the younger brother was in police custody, facing the felony charge of intercepting communications, plus lesser charges of tampering with evidence and resisting arrest.
Tom Bowman, Patriot News
A distraught mother is battling to free her autistic daughter from a psychiatric hospital. Pensioner Olive Joy has written to The Queen, Tony Blair and her MP Philip Davies for help. Mrs Joy claims police "misinterpreted" 40-year-old Frances' odd behaviour when they arrested her in Shipley last December and took her to the cells at Keighley where she was detained under the Mental Health Act. She was later sectioned and taken to Bradford's Lynfield Mount Hospital where she is still being kept in a secure ward.
Kathie Griffith, This Is Bradford
Transcript of CBS 48 Hours, March 17, 2004, about a wealthy Texan with AS who was convicted of murder.
A paedophile who was extradited from Wales last year, after being caught with a mass of child pornography, has been jailed again in Ireland. Anthony Luckwill, 33, was previously jailed in Swansea in December 2004 for 15 counts of possessing indecent images of children. He had become notorious for targeting children across Wales, especially in Lampeter, where he had been a student before getting expelled. An expert report considered that there was a high risk of Luckwill re-offending. Judge Murphy did not accept that his Asperger's syndrome condition was related to his offending.
Western Mail
The New York Times recently reported on the rise in killings prompted by seemingly petty disputes - over a dress, use of a soap dish, a cellphone - and by young people's perceptions of disrespect. Milwaukee Police Chief Nannette H. Hegerty called it "the rage thing." "We're seeing a very angry population, and they don't go to fists anymore, they go right to guns," Hegerty told the Times. Some people, however, have biological trigger points that lie dormant, like a hairline crack in a house foundation, until something sets them off, says Dr. Donna Schwartz-Watts, director of forensic services at the University of South Carolina.
Jesse Leavenworth, Hartford Courant
Would being a person who doesn't feel a lot of emotion make him more able than the average person to commit a crime? "No, it makes him, to me, less dangerous," says Altschuler. "Because most people commit crimes because of emotion. Not because of lack of emotion."
48 Hours, CBS
Roommates and half brothers Bryan Lee Ellis and Rodney L. Yoder spent Saturday evening together at a local bar. They were on good terms, and at one point they hugged each other, according to Yoder's girlfriend, Tabatha Eberly. But something went wrong.
Matthew Rink, Independent Online
Donald Findlay QC, defending, said in the absence of a diagnosis it was hard to say what danger Leather might be to the public, but acknowledged that the loss of control in the attack must have been extreme and could happen again.
IC Dumfries (Scotland)
Robert Alberg, the 37-year-old son of prominent venture capitalist Tom Alberg, was arrested in April after buying 4.7 pounds of castor seeds by mail and starting to process them into ricin.
Reuters
A young autistic man, who masturbated in front of an eight-year-old girl walking to school in Tewantin after looking at pornography, walked free from court yesterday. The court heard Luke Hartnell Worland -- unsuccessful in a Mental Health Tribunal application -- would be a "sitting duck" if he went to jail with his mental illnesses, social impairments and behavioural problems.
Rae Wilson, Sunshine Coast Daily
A soldier accused of trying to give al-Qaida information about U.S. troops was found guilty yesterday on all five counts of trying to help the terrorist network...Anderson suffers from bipolar disorder, the condition formerly called manic depression, and Asperger's syndrome, a high-functioning form of autism.
Associated Press
A 13-year-old boy who killed a 4-year-old boy last year will remain under strict control at a special detention facility... the boy suffers from Asperger's syndrome, a disorder that prevents him from successfully interacting with people.
Japan Times
The petition and other court records said the boy called and visited the girl several times during the fall of 2004, and her mother at one point caught the boy standing behind a garage watching the girl and her boyfriend. On another day, the boy was seen lying on the ground peeking around the house when the girl was at a friend's house. The girl said the boy's actions were a "little bit spooky" and "creepy" but the appellate court said state law requires her to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated or threatened by the acts to support an allegation of stalking.
Niki Kelly, Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
An autistic teenager has been jailed for life for murdering Rosie May Storrie, a 10-year-old ballet dancer who was killed while her parents chatted to guests at a Christmas party.
News Telegraph
Bombing conspirator Terry Nichols has told the FBI and his family that he was involved in the 1995 bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building, according to a published report. Nichols' family contends he has Asperger Syndrome, a developmental disorder that can make a sufferer especially vulnerable to manipulation and peer pressure.
Detroit Free Press
The boy allegedly stole two trams, two buses, attempted to start a train, and picked up passengers during a 40-minute stint as a tram driver in April. He ran red lights and overshot tram stops. "I don't know whether your obsession with public transport can be stopped," the judge said in refusing the boy's bail application. "Since I am required to look at the safety of the public, it seems I have no option but to put you second."
Jane Metlikovec, Herald Sun
Two weeks before William Freund donned a mask and cape and fatally shot two neighbors before killing himself, members of an online forum for people with a rare mental disorder read the 19-year-old's string of violent rantings. Freund's online musings and his pre-Halloween rampage raised fresh questions about the little-policed world of Internet discussion rooms: What, if anything, should Web site gatekeepers do when users post threatening messages online?
Business Week

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