Trial of teen killer will focus on sanity

Sept. 8, 2008 at 12:48 PM

ORLANDO, Fla., Sept. 8 (UPI) -- Mental illness is expected to be the focus in the trial of a Florida teenager accused of killing a classmate in the bathroom of a Miami middle school.

Michael Hernandez, 18, was 14 years old when he allegedly slashed the throat of Jaime Gough, 14, and stabbed him several times before going to his first-period class as if nothing happened, The Miami Herald reported Monday.

Hernandez's attorney, Richard Rosenbaum, is planning to bring in three mental health experts who believe Hernandez met the legal definition of insanity when he killed Gough.

"A huge issue in this case will be to what extent is this young man mentally ill, and to what extent did his mental illness play a role in what he did, and how much he is responsible for his own actions," said Ewald Horwath, a psychiatrist at the University of Miami's Miller Medical School.

The state's experts say Hernandez has a personality disorder.

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