PROVIDENCE -- A man charged with killing a police detective with the officer's gun will argue that he is not guilty by reason of insanity, a judge said yesterday as jury selection began in the case.
Esteban Carpio, 27, who was raised in Boston, is charged with killing Detective Sergeant James Allen during questioning at police headquarters on April 16, 2005. Police said Carpio then jumped out a third-story window and was captured after a violent scuffle.
During his first court hearing, his face was swollen and bruised and partially obscured by a protective mask. Relatives complained that he had been beaten, but authorities said he had been injured during his escape and capture.
Defendants seeking acquittal by reason of insanity in Rhode Island must that prove mental illness made them unable to control their behavior or appreciate the wrongfulness of their actions.
Superior Court Judge Robert Krause said the defense will essentially divide the trial into two phases. Prosecutors will have to prove Carpio killed Allen, but Carpio's lawyers will try to convince jurors that he cannot be held criminally responsible. Prosecutors plan to seek life in prison without parole if he is convicted.
Carpio's lawyer, Robert Sheketoff, asked members of the jury pool if they could remain impartial in a murder trial involving the fatal shooting of a police officer. He also asked potential jurors if they had strong opinions about what he called the intersection of law and psychiatry, saying some people feel that mental illness is a made-up excuse and that ``psychiatric problems don't really exist."
A retired Cumberland police officer and a woman who said she had many police officer friends were dismissed from the jury pool.