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FRONTLINE
A CASE OF INSANITY

william mcintyre for the defense
William McIntyre, the clinical health director of the Albany County Mental Health Center who had evaluated Tortorici to determine his competency to stand trial, testified for the defense. In the following excerpts, McIntyre is answering questions posed by defense attorney Peter Lynch. (Editor's note: These excerpts from the court transcript have been slightly edited.)


... What history, if any, did Ralph give to you that day during your interview?

A brief history of where he grew up, what his family composition was, where he had gone to school. Probably also took some records-- some information from previous records regarding employment and education, and how he came to be in the jail on that day.

What did he tell you about how he came to be in the jail that day?

He acknowledged that he had been involved in an incident at SUNY Albany, in which he had gone into a classroom and taken a number of students hostage.

What else, if anything, did he tell you about that incident?

He was-- I believe he told me that he had not planned for anyone to be injured, but that he did not have-- he was not prepared when one of the students grabbed the rifle from him.

Did he tell you why he went there?

That goes to the delusion that he has regarding a microchip that has been implanted in him.

Let's just take a step back for a moment, if we may, Doctor. And could you just describe what you mean by the term delusion?

Delusion is a fixed belief that someone who is mentally ill has, contrary to reality, and no matter how much rational evidence or facts you can present to someone they can't be shaken from that belief.

What information or discussion revolved around the microchip?

He related to me that a microchip had been implanted in his brain and this microchip was controlling his mood, thoughts, behaviors.

Did he elaborate on how that actually occurred?

He gave different stories, I believe. At one point he said it had been implanted at birth, at other times he talked about it occurring in adolescence.

Did he tell you who implanted the microchip?

The government, or at other times he just referred to the implanters of the microchip as "them."

Did you take any history concerning any prior use of cocaine?

I believe I asked regarding cocaine. And he admitted that he had taken cocaine in the past, yes.

And did you consider his history of cocaine use in rendering your evaluation of him?

Yes.

Were you able to form an opinion, based upon-- well, this interview lasted for forty-five minutes or so: is that correct?

Yes.

And you reviewed various records, including CDPC records?

Yes.

Where you able to form an opinion with a reasonable degree of medical certainty based upon your evaluation as to the diagnosis of Ralph Tortorici?

The diagnosis was either paranoid schizophrenia or paranoid delusional disorder.

What was your basis for forming that diagnosis?

Based on the symptoms that he reported and the history and the previous record.

Which symptoms that he reported are you referring to as your basis for rendering the diagnosis?

The symptoms regarding the delusion. He also reported hallucinations, in which he heard voices of neighbors having conversations that he could overhear due to the microchip in his brain. He had symptoms of thought blocking, which means that he could stop in mid-sentence and forget what it was he was trying to say. He had pressured speech, he had evidence of thought projection, in which he felt that his thoughts were being broadcast or other people could read his mind. He had evidence of thought insertion, in which someone was placing thoughts into his mind and telling him what to think. All those symptoms.

Was there any discussion concerning a conspiracy?

Yes, that's part of the delusion.

And what discussion revolved around the conspiracy?

That there was a conspiracy by the government, or by "them", to use him as a scientific experiment. And at other times the conspiracy was to prepare him to become a world leader. It varied back and forth.

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