Jared Loughner’s lawyers have been researching family records dating back as far as 1893 in what looks like an attempt to show that mental illness runs in his family, the New York Times reports. The lawyers issued and then withdrew a host of subpoenas to the Illinois Department of Public Health concerning the alleged killer’s ancestors on his mother’s side, going back to his great-grandmother.
“If the defense can show that mental illness runs in the family, they have a stronger case,” explains one Vanderbilt professor of law and psychology. Back in January, Loughner’s second cousin hinted that they might be successful, telling the Washington Post that “there’s a history in the family of what they used to call manic depression.” Loughner himself was declared mentally incompetent to stand trial in May, and he will be re-evaluated at a hearing next month. (Read more Jared Lee Loughner stories.)