Multiple Personalities: Crime and Defense
MPD as an Organic Disorder
Dr. Lewis believed Shawcross had been severely traumatized as a child and suffered from incomplete temporal lobe seizures that blocked his memory. She was of the opinion that those seizures only occurred during certain situations, such as when he was alone with prostitutes at night. Despite confessing to each murder and providing details only the killer would know, including leading investigators to the bodies of two of his victims, he was stating before trial that his memory was impaired.
Lewis was frustrated, she wrote, with the defense teams inability to get the brain scans she needed to prove her case neurologically and found herself ill-prepared for the prosecutions questions. She did not even know that another expert had questioned Shawcross at the same time as her evaluationsomething that may have influenced what Shawcross had told her.
After five weeks of trial, the jury took less than two hours to find him both sane and guilty of murder in the second degree on 10 counts. Shawcross was sentenced to 25 years to life on each of the counts.
Lewis realized from this trial the need for physiological evidence and she continued her campaign to get recognition for brain damage as the basis for a diminished capacity to comprehend ones criminal acts. In 2003 she went on to make a case for it.