Delusions Blamed for Killings Mental Illness Led to Abortion Clinic Murders, Lawyer Says

Article excerpt

The lawyer for John Salvi told a jury Wednesday that his client is a schizophrenic who was driven to kill two abortion clinic workers by delusions of a conspiracy against Catholics.

Salvi, an unemployed hair stylist who was raised a Catholic, believed Roman Catholics were being persecuted by Freemasons, the Mafia and the Ku Klux Klan, defense attorney J.W. Carney Jr. said in his opening statement.

Carney told jurors Salvi had been driven to attack the clinics by reports about the killing of four Catholic priests in Algeria on Dec. 27, 1994.

Salvi, 23, of Hampton, N.H., is charged with killing two receptionists and wounding five other people at the Planned Parenthood and Preterm Health Services clinics in Brookline, Mass., on Dec. 30, 1994.

If convicted, he faces life in prison without parole. If acquitted by reason of insanity, Salvi would be sent to a mental institution and could be released when found sane.

In his opening statement, prosecutor John Kivlan said Salvi deliberately had targeted the Brookline clinics, buying 1,000 hollow-point bullets "used primarily for killing."

Maps found in Salvi's truck highlighted access roads to the Brookline clinics, along with the names and addresses of other clinics in Hartford, Conn., and Alexandria, Va., the prosecutor said. Kivlan also said Salvi had got a haircut in New Hampshire after his description was released. …