By Jonathan Saltzman and Andrew Ryan, Globe Staff
The defense outlined its claim today that "pure madness" from acute mental illness drove the man who calls himself Clark Rockefeller to kidnap his 7-year-old daughter last summer, discounting the diagnosis of a psychiatrist for the prosecution who lacked "expertise, experience, and training."
Defense lawyer Jeffrey A. Denner urged the jury during closing arguments to reject the testimony of Dr. James A. Chu because his one, 2 1/2 hour session with Rockefeller was inadequate for an accurate diagnosis by a "hospital administrator" with no forensic training. The defense's two mental health experts have extensive training in forensics, experience evaluating the sanity and criminal responsibly of dozens of defendants, and spent 28 hours with Rockefeller over 14 separate sessions.
"They both told you that the notion of spending one -- one visit, 2 1/2 hours -- is an outrageous proposition to them," Denner said, taking aim at Chu, a clinical psychiatrist at McLean Hospital and associate professor at Harvard Medical School. "No valid conclusions could possibly be drawn from that type of interview."
Denner concluded: "Taking a look at Mr. Rockefeller, you know that something is wrong with him. You don't have to be a rocket scientist or respectfully a psychiatrist to know that something is very wrong with him … This is not a man playing with a full deck."
Assistant Suffolk District Attorney David A. Deakin urged the jury to took look past the "preposterous diagnosis" by paid experts. Deakin asserted that Rockefeller is really a "self-centered, controlling, and manipulative man who was angry."
"This is not a case about madness," Deakin said. "It's a case about manipulation … Don't let him get away with that. Don't let this insanity defense be the culminating manipulation in a lifetime of lies designed to try to get what he wanted. Don't shy away from the facts. See the truth before you."
Rockefeller, 48, has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to charges stemming from his abduction last July 27 of his daughter, Reigh, from a Back Bay street. He took her to Baltimore and was arrested six days later.
The case has attracted extraordinary news media attention because the defendant has used a slew of aliases and bogus biographical details over the last 30 years, including his supposed membership in the storied Rockefeller clan. Prosecutors say he came to the United States in 1978 as a student named Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter and is a con man who never left.
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