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Psychiatrist: McVay Knew This Murder Was Wrong

April 9, 2014, 11:29 AM by Ben Dunsmoor

Psychiatrist: McVay Knew This Murder Was Wrong
James McVay


Minnehaha County jurors heard testimony Wednesday morning from a Minnesota psychiatrist who conducted a competency examination on 43-year-old James McVay after he murdered 75-year-old Maybelle Schein in the summer of 2011.

Dr. Michael Farnsworth testified that he met with McVay in August and September of 2011. McVay admits to murdering Schein on July 2, 2011.

Farnsworth diagnosed McVay with a delusional disorder and said McVay would often have substance-induced psychosis. McVay told Farnsworth that his delusions would be especially solidified when he took cold medicine that included dextromethorphan commonly known as DXM. McVay told Farnsworth that when he took DXM he would hear the ‘voice of god’ speaking to him.

McVay took an entire box of DXM and drank whiskey the afternoon before Schein’s murder. When asked if McVay told him if he was still feeling the effects of the drugs and alcohol the morning he killed Schein, Farnsworth said, ‘yes he did.’

But Farnsworth also testified that despite the delusions and McVay’s mental illness, he is not insane and does understand right and wrong.

“He knew that murder was wrong. He knew that this murder was wrong,” Farnsworth testified.

Minnehaha County State’s Attorney Aaron McGowan also pointed out that McVay hatched the plan to steal a car in Sioux Falls, assassinate the president and go on a killing spree while he was in prison and was not under the influence of drugs and alcohol.

Jurors will come back Wednesday afternoon to hear closing arguments before they begin deliberations. The jurors are first being asked to determine whether McVay’s crime qualifies for the death penalty. If they feel it does, they will then hear more testimony before deciding the final punishment.

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