LaBarre not insane when she killed 2, psychologist testifies

Closing arguments expected today in N.H. murder trial

Sheila LaBarre has admitted killing boyfriend Michael Deloge in the fall of 2005 and Kenneth Countie in March 2006, but is pleading insanity. Sheila LaBarre has admitted killing boyfriend Michael Deloge in the fall of 2005 and Kenneth Countie in March 2006, but is pleading insanity. (Thomas Roy/Associated Press/file photo)
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Associated Press / June 18, 2008

BRENTWOOD, N.H. - A key state witness testified yesterday that he thinks Sheila LaBarre was sane when she killed two men who lived with her.

LaBarre has admitted killing the men, but is pleading insanity.

Forensic psychologist Albert Drukteinis told the jury yesterday that he thinks LaBarre was sane, based on reviewing more than 8,000 pages in the case file, interviewing LaBarre three times, and spending more than 12 hours with her.

Judge Tina Nadeau halted the proceedings late yesterday morning because of an outburst from LaBarre. Drukteinis was on the stand, testifying about an interview with LaBarre in which she said she killed boyfriend Michael Deloge because Deloge was hurting and killing her animals.

Drukteinis suggested LaBarre was torturing the animals, not Deloge, prompting her to scream.

"I didn't kill my animals," she shouted. "I never hurt an animal."

LaBarre was led from the courtroom after the outburst, which startled many. The trial resumed a few minutes later.

The prosecution rested its case yesterday. Closing arguments were scheduled for this afternoon.

Two of the Drukteinis interviews took place in January. The third was in March, after LaBarre pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to killing Kenneth Countie in March 2006 and Deloge in the fall of 2005. Videos of those interviews have been played for the jury.

Drukteinis said LaBarre suffers from a mood disorder that is demonstrated in her erratic mood swings and intense anger. LaBarre's tendency to act grandiose and make herself out to be someone more important than she is also is a symptom of a mood disorder, he said, as are suicidal thoughts and depression.

LaBarre shows signs of paraphelia, which is displayed in her obsession with pedophilia and other sexual acts society deems as perverse.

There is also evidence she has a number of personality disorders that make her paranoid and unable to feel empathy for others, Drukteinis said.

These mood disorders are severe and can cause her to be psychotic at times, and they are displayed in hearing voices, seeing visions, and having delusional thoughts, he said.

Despite these mental illnesses, Drukteinis said, he found there is not enough evidence to show a mental illness caused LaBarre to commit her crimes.

"She's not psychotic all the time, and not everything she does is psychotic," said Drukteinis.

LaBarre functions better than some psychotic people he has treated and did not appear psychotic during the interviews, he said.

"She answered questions well, she tried to explain evidence away that made her look bad. This is not what someone sees over many hours in a person who is psychotic," Drukteinis said.

Drukteinis questioned the defense theory that LaBarre saw herself as an avenging angel who felt it was her mission to rid the world of pedophiles.

LaBarre has a history of violence with men, he said. Drukteinis said he does not think LaBarre made a connection between her violence and doing what is morally right in saving society from danger.

If she did think this, LaBarre would not have lured Deloge and Countie to her farm, tried to separate them from their families, had long sexual relationships with them, or fallen in love with them, he said.

"It's not that she killed them because they are pedophiles. It may have given her an excuse to kill them because she is sadistic," said Drukteinis. "That makes much more sense to me than the theory she thought it was morally right and had to rid [pedophiles] from society."

Drukteinis also said that in interviews, LaBarre denied the theory that she killed Countie and Deloge because she believed they were pedophiles.

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