Doctor: Suspect in NH home invasion proud of lies

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Posted: Mar 21, 2011 6:23 PM
Doctor: Suspect in NH home invasion proud of lies

A forensic psychiatrist testified Monday that the man who claims he was insane during a deadly machete-and-knife attack on a mother and her daughter is manipulative and a liar but is not legally insane.

Dr. Albert Drukteinis opened the state's case against 21-year-old Christopher Gribble by saying Gribble did not suffer from delusions or an inability to control his behavior during the October 2009 home invasion in Mont Vernon.

Gribble has acknowledged his role in the death of Kimberly Cates and the maiming of her 11-year-old daughter, Jaimie, but he is asking a jury to find him not guilty by reason of insanity.

Gribble knew the difference between right and wrong, and his crimes were not the product of any mental illness, Drukteinis testified.

"They were a product of his choices," Drukteinis testified. "He told me if he wanted to, he could manipulate me to think he did nothing wrong."

Drukteinis' testimony set the stage for a chilling description of what prosecutors say is the result of the choices Gribble made in the days leading up to and during the Oct. 4, 2009, home invasion.

Milford police Sgt. Kevin Furlong was the first to reach the Cates' home after Jaimie dragged herself to the kitchen and dialed 911.

"I saw a small girl lift her head up from behind the counter," Furlong testified. "Her head was completely drenched in blood."

Furlong bashed in the locked front door by repeatedly throwing his body into it while running. Jaimie was lying in a pool of blood, trying to yell "but nothing was coming out," Furlong said. "I observed numerous lacerations to her face and extremities. Part of her foot was completely missing. Another part of her foot was barely connected."

"I got close to her, and she whispered that she thought her mommy was dead," Furlong said.

Jaimie's father, David Cates, wept quietly as Furlong described his daughter's words and injuries.

Furlong testified that he carried Jaimie out of the house, then re-entered and found Kimberly Cates' body in the master bedroom.

"There was severe trauma to her face and head," Furlong said. "She was dead."

David Cates took the witness stand briefly to testify that he was traveling on business for BAE Systems, where he is an engineer, at the time of the attacks. He identified several jewelry boxes stolen from the home as having belonged to his wife and daughter. He said he and Jaimie still live in the same house, and that he no longer travels on business.

The state trooper in charge of processing the crime scene described for jurors the bloodstains that drenched the bed and carpet in the master bedroom and blood smears in the hall where Jaimie had dragged herself to the kitchen to summons help.

New Hampshire's standard for legal insanity is a two-part test. If jurors find Gribble suffered from mental illness, they then must decide if that motivated him to commit the crimes.

Gribble is presumed to be sane, and he bears the burden of convincing the jury he was insane at the time. Historically, the odds are against him. It has been more than a half-century since a New Hampshire jury returned a verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity.

Under cross-examination by Gribble's lawyer, Drukteinis agreed that New Hampshire law does not define mental illness and it is up to the jury to decide whether Gribble suffered from any mental disease or defect during the home invasion.

Last week, prosecutors focused on what they said was Gribble's ability to follow rules when he wanted to and to control his feelings.

Drukteinis said the amount of planning Gribble did before the attacks and his goals to rob the house and kill any witnesses influenced his finding that Gribble did not act on impulse or in a rage.

"It reinforces that this is not coming from a private derangement you and your mind are concocting," he said.

Drukteinis testified that Gribble has anti-social personality traits, some developmental disorders and low-grade depression, but that none, in his opinion, rise to the level of insanity.

Co-conspirator Steven Spader, who wielded a machete during the attacks, was convicted in November of first-degree murder and other felonies and is serving two life sentences.

Testimony resumes Tuesday. The prosecution is expected to wrap up its case Thursday, the tenth day of the trial.