Experts Say Teen Girl Was Insane Daughter on Trial for Killing Dad Suffered Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

By Warmbir, Steve | Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), July 11, 1997 | Go to article overview

Experts Say Teen Girl Was Insane Daughter on Trial for Killing Dad Suffered Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder


Warmbir, Steve, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)


Byline: Steve Warmbir Daily Herald Staff Writer

When she was a little girl, Jennifer Van Nunen balked at her father feeding her.

When she was 9 years old, she demanded a lock on her bedroom door to keep her father, Joseph, out.

When she talked of getting married, Van Nunen asked if her grandfather would walk her down the aisle.

And when she was a teenager, Van Nunen plastered her bedroom walls with posters and pictures because she feared her father would drill a hole in a wall to spy on her.

One example after another of Van Nunen's splintered relationship with her father was given Thursday in the third day of her trial for killing her Joseph Van Nunen.

Jennifer Van Nunen, 16, is accused of clubbing her father to death with a Louisville Slugger baseball bat two years ago in the family's Palatine home.

Prosecutors argue Jennifer's hatred sparked the attack.

But the girl's attorneys contend Jennifer feared her father would kill her mother and wasn't in her right mind when she attacked her father.

The girl suffered years of physical and sexual abuse at her father's hands, the defense contends. Her earliest memory is of her father yelling, the defense says, which made her withdraw from him early on.

A social worker and a clinical psychologist who each examined the girl testified Thursday that Van Nunen was temporarily insane at the time of the attack.

Social worker Juli Brown, who counseled Van Nunen after her father's slaying, said the girl suffered post-traumatic stress disorder after her father raped her when she was in the eighth-grade. …

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