Monday, March 16, 2009
Josef Fritzl Pleads Guilty
CNN reports on the Austrian man, Josef Fritzl, who, accused of imprisoning his daughter in a cellar for decades and fathering her seven children, pleaded guilty to incest, imprisonment and one charge of assault Monday at the opening of his trial in Austria.
He denied charges of murder and enslavement. When asked to enter a plea on a charge of rape, the 73-year-old replied: "Partly guilty."
Last October we discussed this case when it appeared in the international news. At that time there was much talk of his abused childhood, how he was the classic victim turned abuser. Psychiatrist Adelheid Kastner wrote a 130-page report in which she says Fritzl suffers from severe combined personality disorder and a serious sexual disorder. Kastner recommends that Fritzl remain in psychiatric care for the rest of his life, regardless of the outcome of his prosecution.
I don't know what happened since then, but it sure seems like they're trying him like any other "sane" criminal. I guess Austria has its own difficulties in delineating between those offenders who have diminished capacity and those who should be held fully responsible for their actions.
I can't help think that this is related to the vengeance factor which plays so heavily in the capital punishment debate. Those who favor the severest reading of the law always claim it's about justice, but to me it smacks of vengeance. Anyone else see it like that?
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