CONCORD, N.H. (AP) – The state’s chief psychiatrist told a New Hampshire judge that the man who pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity after killing his mother with a hammer 36 years ago would never be found insane by today’s standards.

Sixty-five-year-old Harlan Robb admitted killing his mother in 1972 but said he was insane at the time. Robb asked a Merrimack County judge on Wednesday to release him from state supervision because he is no longer a danger to anyone. Robb has been living with his wife and enjoyed liberal off-campus privileges, but wants to end his probation.

Robb met his wife, Jackie, who was in court yesterday, while she was a teacher and he a patient at New Hampshire Hospital.

State psychiatrist Dr. James Adams said Robb’s original diagnosis of schizophrenia was wrong and instead has an anti-social personality disorder.

“He doesn’t exhibit schizophrenia and I’m not aware that he ever did … In the 1970s, (such diagnoses) were awfully easy to come by,” Adams said.

Adams said Robb’s anti-social personality disorder is not treatable as are some mental disorders, but is simply who Robb is as a person.

“(Today) you would never say someone is not guilty by reason of insanity because of anti-social personality disorder,” Adams said after the hearing. “Things were a lot more liberal in 1973.”

Robb declined comment yesterday, but in an interview with the New Hampshire Sunday News in July, said his mother was domineering and that she was snapping at him as he was about to tack down some linoleum with a small claw hammer.

Adams said Robb has a history of violence toward women, including shooting a woman in the head during a robbery before he killed his mother. Robb seems to be getting better as he ages, said Adams, but his weapons fetish and fascination with sadomasochistic pornography warrants continued supervision. During his state supervision, Robb had sometimes lost privileges for possessing weapons and sadomasochistic pornography, and once for carrying a woman’s stocking in his jacket pocket, Adams said.

Robb’s defense attorney Caroline Smith said he hasn’t broken any supervisory rules since 2001 and that a severe case of meningitis at age 14 could have caused brain damage and altered his personality.

Judge Carol Ann Conboy is considering the request.



Information from: New Hampshire Union Leader, http://www.unionleader.com

AP-ES-01-08-09 1108EST


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