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Jurors Didn't Buy Insanity Defense Legal Observer Says Lemak Verdict Fits DuPage's Populace

By Griffin, Jake; Grondin, Kathryn | Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), December 20, 2001 | Go to article overview

Jurors Didn't Buy Insanity Defense Legal Observer Says Lemak Verdict Fits DuPage's Populace


Griffin, Jake, Grondin, Kathryn, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)


Byline: Jake Griffin and Kathryn Grondin Daily Herald Staff Writers

When the six men and six women who would decide Marilyn Lemak's fate began jury deliberations Tuesday afternoon, they took the first of what would be several votes.

Only one of them believed she was insane.

Less than a day later, that belief had evaporated when the 12 DuPage County residents signed their names to a verdict convicting Lemak of murdering her three children.

"Unbelievable," DePaul University law professor Leonard Cavise said. "Insanity does not float as a defense anymore, and it's obvious. Juries don't buy it."

Picked from a pool of hundreds of potential jurors, two-thirds of the 12 had said during the selection process they believed Lemak must have been somewhat insane when she killed her children.

After the verdict, however, two of the jurors said no one among them still felt that way.

"I reviewed everything, all my notes, and realized the defense, their evidence ... was not clear and convincing for the verdict 'not guilty by reason of insanity,' " said Giovanni Lombardo, a college student from Addison. "It was not solid evidence. ...There was not clear and convincing evidence for 'mentally ill' at the time of the murders."

The jurors were meticulous note-takers during the trial. Stone- faced throughout, they rarely laughed, even during moments when the dead children's father, David Lemak, could be seen laughing.

The one break in their facade came during a dressing down of a defense witness by prosecutor Joe Ruggiero. Some jurors were seen laughing with the prosecutor and rolling their eyes at the witness' response.

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Jurors Didn't Buy Insanity Defense Legal Observer Says Lemak Verdict Fits DuPage's Populace
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