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Lawyer says he will use insanity defense for suspect in shooting on Oahu freeway

April 5, 2013
The Associated Press

HONOLULU (AP) - The lawyer for a man accused of killing a motorist and injuring two others during a freeway shooting in Honolulu nearly three years ago said he plans to utilize an insanity defense.

Toby Stangell's lawyer told Circuit Judge Glenn Kim on Wednesday that he plans to use mental and emotional distress, as well as intoxication, to defend his client, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported. Kim informed lawyer John Schum that voluntary intoxication is not a legal defense.

Stangel, 30, is charged with second-degree murder and other counts. Authorities said he went on a 17-minute shooting spree on June 3, 2011, that started at an intersection where 54-year-old Tammy Nguyen was shot in her idling van while her 16-year-old daughter sat beside her.

The violence continued along the H-1 freeway, leaving two others wounded and two police officers shot.

To convince a jury that he was insane at the time, or suffering from a mental defect or disorder, Stangel will have to overcome the opinions of at least two court-appointed mental health experts who examined him last year.

The two said in their reports that Stangel was not suffering from a mental illness at the time of the shootings. They also found him mentally fit to stand trial.

Prosecutors said police found drugs, drug paraphernalia, a hunting knife and brass knuckles in the car and a 9 mm semi-automatic firearm with a large-capacity magazine just outside the car.



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