Mustard’s defense: Murder was ‘out of character’

A psychologist representing the defense team told a jury at Kitsap County Superior Court on Monday that a short bout of insanity may have caused Daniel Mustard to kill his neighbor, 87-year-old Ruby Andrews.

“This killing wasn’t a mere slaying,” Dr. Mark B. Whitehill said on the stand Tuesday, as the trial entered its third week. “It was a slaughter,” that seemed “out of character,” for Mustard.

Mustard is accused of murdering Andrews in April 2009, but his attorneys argue he is not guilty by reason of insanity.

Although Mustard dealt with a variety of psychological disorders before and after the murder, Whitehill thinks none of them would have caused Mustard to kill Andrews.

“This is not a profile, I would predict, would engage in this level of conduct,” he said. “There must have been other conditions present at the time, like an extreme psychosis.”

Typically, murderers are severely anti-social, sadistic and narcissistic.

But Mustard didn’t fit that profile, Whitehill said.

He had, however, several disorders.

For example, he has been diagnosed with schizotypal personality disorder, which causes people speak in non-sequitors and sometimes have hallucinations milder than those affecting people with schizophrenia.

He also has mild levels of borderline personality disorder, which causes dramatic emotions and intense instability, and paranoia.

On another test, Mustard showed elevated levels of depression and anxiety.

Whitehill suggested that Mustard might also have post-traumatic stress disorder, not from anything that really happened to him, but from his delusions.

“He said that he’s seen people be tortured and gutted,” said Whitehill. “He believes he’s been subjected to these events even though they never really happened.”

But these psychological conditions alone wouldn’t have caused Whitehill to think Mustard would commit the murder.

“We don’t have a psychopathic criminal prone to law-breaking behavior,” he said.

Mustard, he said, didn’t appear to generally fit the legal definition of an insane person, but he seemed like someone who had a large number of mild disorders temporarily went insane at the time of the killing.

Bryan Hershman, Mustard’s lawyer, argued that Mustard’s suffered from diminished capacity at the time of the killing and thus shouldn’t be held to the same standard as a sane person.

If a gun goes off in your hand by accident and shoots your friend, he argued, it’s different than if you walk up to someone on the street and shoot them on purpose.

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