Fritzl Will Plead Insanity

Lawyer says man who raped daughter for 24 years' is mentally ill, not responsible for actions
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 4, 2008 1:28 PM CDT
District governor Hans Heinz Lenze, left, and Dr. Berthold Kepplinger, medical head of the 'Mauer' hospital, are seen during a press conference Wednesday, April 30, 2008.   (AP Photo/Kerstin Joensson)
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(Newser) – The man charged with imprisoning his daughter for 24 years and repeatedly raping her may not spend long behind bars, reports the Times of London, as Josef Fritzel's lawyer plans to plead insanity to avoid a prison term. “Josef Fritzl is mentally ill and therefore not responsible for his actions," and belongs "in a closed psychiatry ward," Rudolf Mayer said. 

If the court psychiatrist doesn't find Fritzl sufficiently crazy, Mayer can choose another doctor to evaluate his client. Meanwhile, further details of the saga emerged today, with the Times reporting that Elisabeth Fritzl was kept tethered for months, and that the growing second family occupied a single underground bunker room for 9 years—meaning that the children witnessed Fritzl's repeated abuse of their mother. (Read more Josef Fritzl stories.)