Faculty Proceedings, Presentations, Speeches and Lectures

Event Title

Meeting of the International Academy of Law and Mental Health

Event Location

Rome, Italy

Document Type


Presentation Date


Date Range

2019-07-21 to 2019-07-26


They called it the crime of the century; in 1924 in Chicago two brilliant, well-educated, and wealthy young men kidnapped and murdered a 14-year-old boy and killed him "for the thrill of it". Expert testimony was presented by several well-known psychiatrists and psychologists, but even with all their clinical insights, none could reach a conclusion about the causal relation between their disturbed childhoods and a violent senseless crime. In fact, the well-known criminal defense attorney Clarence Darrow made little mention of the extensive psychiatric and psychological workups, and the judge did not deal with it in his sentencing. A review of the findings does suggest a delusional disorder for one of the defendants and psychopathy for the other; the interaction of these two disordered personalities led to a "perfect storm" a confluence of factors that only in combination could result in the brutal crime. Recent developments in neuropsychology allow us to see how these two disordered personalities interacted; the neuropsychological basis of delusional disorder and of psychopathy will be explored in this presentation along with a re-imagined closing argument by their attorney.

Rome PB.pdf (3094 kB)

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