Friday, March 2, 2012

Resnick Recounts Consultation on Unabomber Case

Consumed with fantasies of revenge and severely disabled in his ability to communicate socially, Ted Kaczynski—a.k.a. the “Unabomber,” now serving a life sentence in a federal prison in Colorado for a 20-year mail-bombing campaign that killed three people and severely injured more than 20 others—nevertheless did not appear to be psychotic, according to internationally known forensic psychiatrist Phillip Resnick, M.D.

Resnick, who is a professor of psychiatry and director of the Division of Forensic Psychiatry at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, acknowledged that he never got to directly evaluate Kaczynski, who adamantly refused to be interviewed by psychiatrists (and forbade his own lawyers from entering an insanity plea). But Resnick, who was hired by federal prosecutor Robert Cleary, analyzed thousands of pages of documents written by Kaczynski, interviewed family and acquaintances, and visited places Kaczynski lived and worked, including the cabin where he had lived in a remote wooded region of Montana.

Resnick described his consultation with prosecutors in the case against Kaczynski during a presentation Monday evening at the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association Education Center, sponsored by Passion for Change, a Cleveland-based nonprofit advocacy group dedicated to dispelling stigma about mental illness.

Resnick told audience members that based on his own analysis of materials, he did not see evidence that Kaczynski was psychotic. “I never examined him face to face, but [psychosis] was not evident from external things I observed.”

Resnick is a popular speaker at APA annual meetings and will be presenting five courses in forensics at this year’s meeting in Philadelphia. For information, go here.

(Image: Mark Moran)


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