Experts: Killer abused
WARREN – One psychologist said convicted murderer Louis Mann was sexually abused by a father who insisted on bathing with his young son and taking extra time to wash the boy’s private areas.
Another psychologist said Mann – who is on trial for his life – has eight documented visits to hospitals for either suicide attempts or severe depression.
The mental health experts highlighted testimony Thursday in the mitigation phase of Mann’s murder trial in the courtroom of Judge W. Wyatt McKay.
The same jury of eight men and four women already convicted Mann in the brutal murders of his parents two years ago. The panel is now considering whether to recommend the death penalty, life in prison without parole or parole possibility after 25 or 30 years.
”We’re not here to excuse or justify why Louis killed his parents. We want to explain why,” said defense attorney Matt Pentz, in his opening remarks before presenting testimony from the two experts who examined Mann after he was arrested and charged with the murders.
The mitigation phase will continue today when John Russell, a Trumbull County Jail chaplain, will testify in Mann’s behalf. Defense attorneys also said there is a good chance that Mann also may offer an unsworn statement to jurors as a way of explaining the killings and at the same time avoid any cross examinations by prosecutors.
Mann strangled his mother, Frances M. Mann, 53, with a clothesline and shot his father, Philip J. Mann Sr., 59, with a .22-caliber rifle after beating him to death with a flashlight Sept. 30, 2011.
He drained his parents’ bank account of $1,400 and spent it on drugs, a prostitute and motel rooms before he was arrested within two days and confessed to the murders.
Dr. Howard Fradkin, a renowned expert on male survivors of sexual abuse, said he was told by Mann about his dad taking baths with him at age 8 or 9.
When Mann told his mother about what happened during the baths and that his dad forced him to ”kiss” his penis, his mother simply described her husband as ”sick.”
Fradkin, of Columbus, served as one of the experts on two Oprah Winfrey shows exploring how 200 male sexual abuse survivors managed their lives after the trauma. He also was featured on a show with Dr. Phil and served as one of the experts in the Jerry Sandusky case developing out of the Penn State sex abuse scandal involving young boys.
”These recollections (of past sexual abuse) are fractured. It’s not like a movie,” Fradkin explained. He said details of how the bathroom looked and the scene of telling his mother about the experience lent credibility to Mann’s account.
”He felt ashamed,but he stayed loyal to his parents,” Fradkin said. He said Mann suppressed the abuse for years and sometimes used drugs to help him forget.
Fradkin said there was a definite link between the abuse and the murders and if he had the wherewithal to seek professional counseling, it might have prevented the murders.
Assistant prosecutor Gabe Wildman was critical of Fradkin making $300 for his study and 17-page report on Mann and earning $150 an hour to drive to Warren from Columbus.
Fradkin admitted that it was actually his first testimony in a capital murder case, but Wildman got him to admit he spent only four hours with the defendant and more time going over reports with the attorneys.
A second expert, Dr. Bob Stinson, also of Columbus, authored a 55-page report.
Stinson, a forensic psychologist focused in on several episodes in Mann’s life, including one time when he digested rat poison to try and kill himself and another time when his father pulled a shotgun away from his head to stop a suicide attempt.
The doctor said Mann with his depression, post traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse and other mental disorders received inadequate treatment at local hospitals and the Neil Kennedy Recovery Clinic, partly because he didn’t have health insurance and participate in long-term treatment.
Stinson, who also is an attorney, said Mann’s development was jaded by his parents’ drug use and economic status.
Wildman and assistant prosecutor Chris Becker both pointed out that nearly all information the experts worked with came directly from Mann.
”You can speak for justice,” Becker told the jury, trying to convince the panel that the aggravated circumstances of both parents killed during the course of a robbery outweigh any mitigating factors that will be presented.
Attorneys in the case are expected to present closing arguments Monday before deliberations being.