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 Post subject: Lawyers spar over role of Asperger's syndrome in school slay
PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2008 6:42 pm 
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Lawyers spar over role of Asperger's syndrome in school slaying

CAMBRIDGE -- John Odgren once brought a toy plastic gun and a pen knife to school and claimed in a forensics class that he could “commit the perfect murder,” according to school records discussed today during a hearing in Middlesex Superior Court.

Odgren’s mother talked about her son’s violent thoughts with school officials, and she said he tried to put her at ease. “I’m not going to kill anybody,” Odgren told his mother, according to a lawyer quoting from the school records.

Prosecutors said that his fascination with weapons and the idle threat to kill came before the teenager used a 14-inch kitchen knife to fatally stab another student through the heart in a fury in a Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School bathroom. The new details emerged today during a hearing in which Odgren’s attorney, Jonathan Shapiro, asked a judge to throw out the first-degree murder indictment for the slaying of James Alenson on Jan. 19, 2007. Judge Isaac Borenstein took the motion under advisement and did not indicate when he would issue a ruling.

Odgren, a lanky 17-year-old with peach fuzz on his upper lip, sat passively and watched as lawyers argued over his Asperger's syndrome and the role it played in the slaying. “That’s going to be hotly debated at trial,” Borenstein said.

Shapiro maintained that a prosecutor cut off a grand juror’s questioning about his client’s syndrome. Asperger's makes it impossible for Odgren to have planned the killing, Shapiro said, and premeditation is a key component of a first-degree murder charge
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Asperger's is a hot topic in our society and in the field of education. I have been around a family member who has been diagnosed with Asperger's but he doesn't show any violent tendencies that I am aware of.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2008 6:59 pm 
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Asperger's Syndrome on wikipedia

Quote:
. . . . .
The lack of demonstrated empathy is possibly the most dysfunctional aspect of Asperger syndrome. Individuals with AS experience difficulties in basic elements of social interaction, which may include a failure to develop friendships or enjoy spontaneous interests or achievements with others, a lack of social or emotional reciprocity, and impaired nonverbal behaviors such as eye contact, facial expression, posture, and gesture.

Unlike those with autism, people with AS are not usually withdrawn around others; they approach others, even if awkwardly, for example by engaging in a one-sided, long-winded speech about a favorite topic while being oblivious to the listener's feelings or reactions, such as signs of boredom or haste to leave. This social awkwardness has been called "active but odd". This failure to react appropriately to social interaction may appear as disregard for other people's feelings, and may come across as insensitive. The cognitive ability of children with AS often lets them articulate social norms in a laboratory context, where they may be able to show a theoretical understanding of other people’s emotions; however, they typically have difficulty acting on this knowledge in fluid, real-life situations. People with AS may analyze and distill their observation of social interaction into rigid behavioral guidelines and apply these rules in awkward ways—such as forced eye contact—resulting in demeanor that appears rigid or socially naïve. Childhood desires for companionship can be numbed through a history of failed social encounters.

The hypothesis that individuals with AS are predisposed to violent or criminal behavior has been investigated and found to be unsupported by data. More evidence suggests children with AS are victims rather than victimizers.
. . . . .


This lack of empathy could also describe the entire Republican Party. As for no violent tendencies, adding the Repugs would certainly tilt the data.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 02, 2008 1:50 pm 
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I thank God that my Asperger's son got out of high school alive, and that he was on his meds :|

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