Springfield, Missouri | A woman accused of 19 homicides was found not criminally responsible for her crimes after a unanimous jury judged that her Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) periodically turned her into “an extremely violent and unstable psychopath”.
49-year old Jennifer Walters was accused of 19 homicides and 14 assaults committed between 2009 and 2019 in four various counties across Missouri.
She pleaded that she suffered from Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), an extreme version of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) approximately 500 times more intense, claiming her condition made her “completely lose control” in the week or two before her monthly period starts.
The jury’s verdict came this morning after an 8-month long trial that she is “not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder” (NCRMD) on all 33 charges.
Her lawyer, Mr. Michael Heinz, described the judgment as an important jurisprudence for the recognition of premenstrual disorder as a mental illness.
“For years feminist organizations have been opposing PMS being recognized as a mental illness, but this judgment may finally have broken a social taboo.”
Mr. Heinz says jokingly that he had to avoid meeting his client in the weeks before her period during the eight months the trial lasted.
“During the first month, I wasn’t careful and she nearly strangled me with my tie after kicking me in the crotch. I learned to adjust our meetings to her menstrual cycle!”
Three experts presented different psychiatric evaluations of the accused during the trial with several differences in their conclusions.
Two of the experts judged she did “lose her capacity to distinguish right from wrong” one or two weeks per month while the third disagreed.
All three recognized it was impossible to determine if she was suffering from PMDD at the time when the various crimes were committed, but described her as “highly unstable and potentially violent”.
The judgment as caused a lot of reactions, and the state attorney in this case, Ms. Laura Myers, says she’s already considering appealing the decision.