The sanity phase began Monday in the trial of Robert McClain, who was convicted of torture and mayhem yesterday. If defense attorneys cannot convince a jury their client was insane when the crimes were committed, he faces life imprisonment.
The same jury that believed Robert McClain assaulted and tortured his then-wife and her lover began hearing evidence of McClain’s sanity in a Santa Ana, California courtroom. Unlike the guilt phase, the defense bears the burden of proof in convincing the panel that McClain did not know right from wrong at the time of the attack.
Defense attorney Darren Thompson reserved his opening statement and let prosecutor John Christi preview the sanity hearing. Christi said he would call two court-appointed doctors to prove that McClain had no impairing mental disease. The defense plans to call a psychologist who may say McClain suffered a sort of psychic break — and that the defendant said he believed the victims had “turning into beasts” who wanted to kill him.