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Archive for Tuesday, August 27, 1991

MURDER SUSPECT TERMED INSANE

August 27, 1991

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A Topeka psychiatrist who testified for more than five hours Monday and today said a man who is accused of kidnapping three elderly Topekans and later shooting two of them was legally insane when the crimes were committed.

However, Dr. Gilbert Parks, a private psychiatric practitioner in Topeka, said he did not fully review police reports of the incidents for which Tyrone Baker, 21, Topeka, is being tried.

Baker is charged in Douglas County District Court with two counts of first-degree murder in the Dec. 4, 1989, deaths of Topekans Lester Haley, 87, and his wife, Nancy, 69. He also is charged with two counts of aggravated kidnapping and a felony count of aggravated assault.

He was convicted in June 1990 in Shawnee County of first-degree murder in the Dec. 3, 1989, death of Ida Mae Dougherty, 72, Topeka. Baker is accused of kidnapping the Haleys and Verne Horne, 70, after the three Topekans went to check on Mrs. Dougherty.

DURING testimony Monday, Parks said he believed Baker was legally insane at the time the murders were committed.

Parks examined Baker in April 1990 and interviewed Baker's family and former girlfriends in reaching the conclusion that Baker suffers chronic schizophrenic psychosis, according to testimony.

Parks said that Baker told him during an examination that he could not remember events of Dec. 4, 1989. Baker also testified Monday that he could not remember events on Dec. 4 because a "friend" had taken over his mind and body.

Baker allegedly disposed of Mrs. Dougherty's body on Dec. 3 in Douglas County, then returned to Mrs. Dougherty's house and kidnapped the other three people the next day, then taking them to Douglas County.

Parks said that a 1987 Menninger Foundation report said Baker had been diagnosed as having a schizophrenic psychosis condition.

"He's probably been suffering it since age 2 or 3," Parks said.

In response to a question about what was the most important factor in his decision about Baker's condition, Parks replied, "The history and all the information I was able to obtain."

HOWEVER, UNDER cross-examination by Pedro Irigonegaray, a Topeka attorney hired by the victims' families to assist with the prosecution, Parks said that Baker had not received any medication or treatment for his condition.

Irigonegaray asked Parks several times how he knew definitively that Baker was insane on Dec. 3 and 4, 1989.

"If you do not know what happened, how can you say what happened?" Irigonegaray asked.

"It's just consistent with someone who has developed this condition early in life," Parks said. He added that the fact that Baker said he can't remember the crimes is consistent with Baker's condition.

"So it is the fact that he can't remember that is the consistency thread that you've been following?" Irigonegaray asked.

"It's an important part of the diagnosis," Parks responded.

"So if he had remembered, he wouldn't be psychotic?" the prosecutor continued.

"Not necessarily . . . he could have been psychotic," Parks said.

Irigonegaray asked how, if Baker was insane on Dec. 3., he could remember his actions. Baker, in testimony Monday, said he was aware of his actions on Dec. 3 but could not remember his actions on Dec. 4.

"HOW CAN you have it both ways?" Irigonegaray asked. "You say that when he doesn't remember, he's psychotic, and now you're saying that if he remembers, he's psychotic?"

"He could have been," Parks said, "because the psychotic mind can do a number of things."

Several times on Monday, Parks asked Irigonegaray to repeat his questions because he said he misinterpreted some of the attorney's questions as statements.

"Whenever I speak to you, you consider it a question, Dr. Parks," Irigonegaray snapped.

During today's questioning, Irigonegaray also questioned why Parks hadn't reviewed all the police reports on the Haley murders.

"Isn't it critical for you to review the complete statements that Mrs. Horne made in those (police) reports about what happened on which for you to base your conclusions that the defendant was insane?" Irigonegaray asked.

"I gathered enough information to gather key parts and to get an overall scope of what happened," Parks said.

"So not knowing all the facts, or excluding part of the facts is that the way you practice medicine, doctor?" Irigonegaray asked.

"That's not what I said or what I intended to say," Parks said.

Ron Wurtz, Baker's attorney, moved late this morning to introduce Parks' written psychiatric profile of Baker as evidence. Judge Ralph M. King Jr. denied the request.

"I don't find a report made a year ago is going to add anything to the knowledge of the case," King said.

Parks was expected to return to the stand for additional testimony this afternoon.

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