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Insanity Defense Lecture by Juniata Psychology Professor Focuses on Solutions

(Posted February 2, 2004)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- A Juniata College psychology professor will address the use of the insanity defense in criminal cases and how society can find a solution for what to do with criminals who have committed horrific crimes, in a lecture at 4:30 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 11, in the Neff Lecture Hall in the von Liebig Center for Science on the Juniata campus.

Mark McKellop, assistant professor of psychology, will give the talk ?Should John Hinckley Go Free?? as part of the Bookend Seminar Lecture Series, which features afternoon lectures each month by Juniata College faculty. The lecture is free and open to the public.

McKellop will discuss the case of John Hinckley, the troubled man who tried to assassinate President Ronald Reagan. Hinckley and his lawyers have recently asked that he be allowed to leave the psychiatric facility where he is assigned for home visits with his parents. McKellop also will address other high-profile court cases where the ?insanity defense? was used, most notably in the trials of Jeffrey Dahmer and Andrea Yates, the Texas mother who drowned her children.

?Generally speaking, the insanity defense forces us to apply abstract legal principles to specific real-world behaviors, often with confusing and unsatisfactory results,? McKellop says. He will talk about the legal and psychological concepts of insanity and discuss what society should do with such troubled individuals.

McKellop joined the Juniata faculty in 2002 as an assistant professor of psychology. He earned a summa cum laude bachelor's degree in psychology from Ohio State University in 1994. He earned a master?s degree in clinical-child psychology in 1996 and a doctorate in clinical-child psychology in 2000, both from the University of Cincinnati.

McKellop was a visiting assistant professor of psychology at Indiana University in Bloomington, Ind. from 2001 to 2002. He also worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the Children's Hospital Medical Center in Cincinnati, Ohio from 2000 to 2001. He worked as a predoctoral intern in psychology at Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio from 1999 to 2000.



Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.