Innocent because of Asperger’s?

Asperger's I was watching an old E! special about billionaire murderer [Robert Durst] or something, I wasn’t really paying attentions until the trial of a man who had murdered and disembodied a guy, then threw his remains over the seawall in Galveston.

It first caught my attention because the crime took place in Galveston and I am from Texas. As the story continued the crime turned from horrid to just plain bizarre. This man was a billionaire who was living in poverty down in Galveston. I don’t remember why really but I do remember that when sentencing came he was proved NOT GUILTY of murder due to the fact that he suffered from Asperger’s. His defense attorney claimed that he couldn’t feel empathy, remorse, sadness, therefore he didn’t know what he did was wrong.

Later he was proved guilty of Tampering With Evidence, that would be the disembodiment of the person he killed. To me that just seems a little messed up. I personally don’t think Asperger’s is an excuse for evil. While there is therapy and stuff like that for Asperger’s, you can’t fix evil. And I don’t think it’s fair to blame it on Asperger’s. Plus it might send out the wrong inclination of Asperger’s to people who know nothing about it.


Editors Note: Here’s a LINK more about this man.


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0 thoughts on “Innocent because of Asperger’s?

  • October 22, 2009 at 5:46 pm

    @LibranPoetess@xanga – Certainly. I’m just saying that ‘I have social difficulties’ and ‘Jesus Christ told me to do it’ are two different things altogether. I’ve been diagnosed Asperger’s too… but it seems to me, who would know if that’s even true? Everybody’s got that these days.

  • September 4, 2009 at 11:14 pm

    That’s a brilliant legal defense, but not legitimate. Murder is defined by an intentional killing of another human being. How they feel about it is irrelevant in determining guilt.

  • September 4, 2009 at 5:42 pm

    yeah that’s kind of ridiculous. I can understand them maybe going a little bit easier when it came time for the punishment but declaring him completely innocent it too much.

  • September 4, 2009 at 5:37 pm

    @littlewing1985@xanga – I would caution you not to say that people on the autism range have other conditions (that also affect mental  health), since that suggests a majority and many people become tempted to make the leap between majority and almost always and before you know it, almost always morphs into habits of equating a condition with things it should not be.

    Different studies cite vastly different co-morbidity rates, from numbers that suggest only a minority of people on the autism range have other mental health issues to much higher numbers (above 70 percent).  And they don’t know yet how comorbidity rates of autistics compare to those who are in the A.S. (Asperger’s Syndrome) end of things.

    Sadly, even many researchers, mental health and other professionals do an exceedingly poor job at paying attention to if their resources cite rates without naming empirical evidence and if their resources note and/or display excellent accurate analysis of said evidence.

  • September 4, 2009 at 5:28 pm

    @aspergiansarah@xanga – I think that’s what I meant but still, they should have to pay the price for the wrong they’ve commited. I has aspergers as well and I know my right from wrong. Maybe it’s just different for others, I dunno, I’m me and not someone else.

  • September 4, 2009 at 4:59 pm

    i have heard of people being let off the hook for being schizophrenic or severely bipolar but Asperger’s? I suffer from that and I am certain that if I did something like that, I would go straight to the big house. The guy was more than just that. he was also most likely suffering from some other psychological disorder too. usually people with Asperger’s have something else going on. I also have bipolar II disorder. Also that sounds like an insanity plea and Asperger’s is not a condition that affects one’s mental heath. people with this lack the ability to pick up on social cues like the average person does. they aren’t mentally ill. that lawyer was just using that to get his client off. and you are right, this is the kind of thing that could give people the wrong idea of what Asperger’s is really about. Like the stories on the news about people who do the kind of stuff that this guy did and they are said to bipolar or schizophrenic which then leads us all to be afraid of people who have those disorders because some idiot on the news did some horrible crime and it was blamed on their mental disorder.

  • September 4, 2009 at 11:21 am

    Lawyers will try to pull all sorts of bull.

    1.  A.S. (Asperger’s Syndrome) is not a synonym for sociopath.

    2.  A.S. is not the same as having been brought up with very detrimental and even dangerous behavioral patterns of abuse (abuse of others and/or abuse of self).  A.S. is a neurological difference, not (behavioral) breeding ground for potential murderers.

         2.a.  Signs that Robert Durst may have been living in a pathologically dysfunctional and abusive childhood household include the fact that his mother committed suicide in front of him.  So he witnessed the fatal self abuse of his mother and who knows all the abuse and mental illness factors that preceded or followed it!

    3.  While some with A.S. report difficulties with reading and expressing emotion, plenty of them have plenty of emotion!  I would know.  I am one.

    4.  For as vocal as the few (people with A.S.) are that aren’t as full of emotion (emotionally “flat”) they are the rare birds…and they may or may not be dealing with not one or two conditions, which takes us to the next point.

    5.  A.S. does not preclude having other conditions.  In fact, scientific disciplines are presently looking into what seems to be higher rates of comorbidity (having more than one condition) among people on the autism range.

    6.  There is plenty of logic with a lot of directional force that should also steer people away from things criminal.  Also, healthier use of imagination would contribute to living outside the tight binds (learned behavioral patterns) of abuse.

    7.  Many Aspies are many times more likely to follow rules do so to a very anal extent.  For example, it took me over ten years to bring myself to drive even a little bit over the speed limit.  Try that in Chicago traffic!!!  I had numerous conversations about the ethical, social and logical problems with setting a legal speed limit and traffic rules and then most people are breaking the rules most of the time.  Not that all Aspies are like this, but a lot of them are and it serves to underline just how ludicrous and false the attempt at a legal defense was.  Yes, from a behavioral standpoint, many Aspies act more ethically and morally correct and keenly tuned into right and wrong, varying degrees of social ineptitude and all.

  • September 4, 2009 at 8:25 am

    That really is terrible, they’re making him out to sound like a sociopath. People with Aspergers can feel empathy, remorse, sadness, and any other emotion… they just don’t show it.

  • September 4, 2009 at 12:19 am

    I am from Texas too (only 45 min from Galveston) & I remember this case….Hmmm….I don’t think the man can blame it on Aspberger’s…I know a girl who has that. But I do think that it is possible to blame it on Alzheimer’s.

  • September 3, 2009 at 7:30 pm

    My husband has Asperger’s but just because he got that does not mean he will hurt me or murder me or hurt our kids or anything like that.

  • September 3, 2009 at 2:24 pm

    A defense attorney will use anything to defend his client.  The more Awareness there is about Asperger’s and the accurate depiction of the diagnosis the more likely it is that a jury pool would know that this type of defense is complete nonsense.   

  • September 3, 2009 at 1:39 pm


    But…don’t you mean “dismemberment” instead of “disembodiment?”  If he cut the man in pieces, he dismembered him, not disembodied him.  Just checking.

  • September 3, 2009 at 1:01 pm

    I might have aspergers, but Aspergers or not, I’m still me.
    I don’t think that if I killed a person, I could use that as an excuse .-.?

  • September 3, 2009 at 11:11 am

    Asperger’s does-not-equal Sociopath.

    The symptoms they described, (“he couldn’t feel empathy, remorse, sadness”), those are the signs of a Sociopath, not a person with Asperger’s. So at least get your diagnoses right. Beyond that, Sociopaths still know that what they’re doing is “wrong”, they just plain don’t care.
    The whole defense is bullshit.

  • September 3, 2009 at 11:08 am

    Incidents like this and others just sets identifying with people who are within the autistic spectrum – it sets all reaching towards acceptance – back fifty years. This is nuts!

  • September 3, 2009 at 9:24 am

    Ahem… Asperger’s syndrome is a difficulty in recognizing nonverbal cues in others (which, I, as an aspie find quite different from an inability to feel empathy, and, in fact consider myself quite empathetic…)… and is in NO way marked by an inability to feel sadness, emotion, or remorse (in fact, Aspies feel these things quite accutely and often more so than others, just have some difficulty figuring out how to express them correctly, though over time, it is quite possible to develop social coping mechanisms…). I do not like this article trying to make us out to be “without emotion,” it seems to be trying to make us, in the public eye into robots (and thus subhuman)… I have seen far too many fallacious and hurtful portrayals of the syndrome in media either brutally making fun of it, or making us appear somehow subhuman…

  • September 3, 2009 at 7:08 am

    Durst didn’t actually use an insanity defense. His positive defense was self-defense, though the jury seems to have been unconvinced by the prosecution’s claim of premeditation. What it seems like you have is a bungled prosecution defeated by a world-class defense team. Shades of O.J.

    Asperger’s Syndrome did come up, though. It was used to excuse the mutilation in light of the self-defense claim, and may have led to the jury’s reluctance to accept the prosecution’s contention of premeditation.

  • September 3, 2009 at 12:00 am

    I don’t think it’s a defensible argument in the case of homicide or other violent crime of that sort, no. I do however think it can be defensible in cases of verbal abuse, simple assault, and the like as we Aspies do have a temper and will let it show if you say or do just the right thing to make it come out. 

    That’s my personal opinion on it, and not just because I’ve kicked people’s asses before (I have, on multiple occasions, but that’s beside the point). 

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