List of serial killers who used the insanity plea in their defense. Although pop culture often depicts the insanity plea as a common occurrence in the legal universe, it’s actually one of the rarest methods of defense. In order to prove an insanity plea, the defense must show that the killer either did not realize what he or she was doing, but also that they didn’t know the difference between right and wrong. Very few insanity pleas have worked in murder defenses and even fewer in the case of serial killers. Most killers who have pleaded insanity have found themselves with a death sentence anyway.
When there is mounting evidence against a serial killer, sometimes the insanity defense is the best way to try to stay off death row.The defense, however, ensures that the criminal must admit that they committed a crime, so a later not-guilty plea is difficult or impossible. Even in cases where a killer has been found not guilty by reason of insanity, serving time in a mental hospital is required. In some cases, like with Albert Fish, the jury may acknowledge the killer is insane, but find them guilty anyway.
Which serial killers have plead insanity? The dangerous killers on this list used insanity pleas to defend themselves in court.
Birthplace: East Cleveland, Ohio, United States of Americasee more on Anthony Sowell
Birthplace: Houston, Texas, United States of Americasee more on Andrea Yates
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States of Americasee more on David Berkowitz
Age: Dec. at 34 (1960-1994)
Birthplace: West Allis, Wisconsin, United States of Americasee more on Jeffrey Dahmer