In for Life: Day Eleven of the Michael Tate Trial

Day eleven of Michael Tate’s murder trial consisted mostly of testimony from two psychologists, produced by the defense, telling the jury that everything is not alright in Tate’s 19-year-old brain and that relying on a sanity evaluation designed for adults and conducted by a doctor without much experience evaluating juveniles would not be fair.

Although the first psychologist testified that Tate does indeed have brain dysfunction, he couldn’t say for sure whether it was sustained in the womb, during birth, from pre-adolescent abuse or from one of the multiple suicide attempts that Tate has made. The second psychologist, who is now semi-retired, testified that he has worked with several thousand children in his career, most of whom he doesn’t recall by name. Michael Tate is one of the few whom he does, from about ten years ago, partly due to the severe psychotic symptoms Tate showed, coupled with the abuse he endured as a youth, and a potential genetic predisposition to bi-polar disorder, which both Tate’s mother and older brother are afflicted with.

Tate, the second doctor testified, showed signs of psychosis dating back at least ten years.

The psychologists were the final two witnesses called by the defense to sway the jury toward Tate’s insanity defense, which, if accepted, will send him to the state mental institution for an undetermined amount of time for the murder which Tate committed at age 16.

If the jury doesn’t buy the plea, it’s a mandatory life without parole sentence in prison. -- Luke Turf

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Sean Cronin