McClung and Franklin formed their partnership in 2004 because of their mutual interest in the intricacies and uniqueness of each murder case. They believe that there is a high probability of diminished capacity and mitigation in every murder case, no matter how brutal or how often committed. They believe the early childhood development and social environment of many of the accused inevitably lead to the homicide. The firm assembled a group of credible experts and investigators who are used according to the unique needs of each case.
The case of Saiqa Akhter is an example of diminished capacity which rose to the level of insanity. Saiqa killed her five year old son and two year old daughter. She called 911 and told the operator she killed her kids because they were autistic and she wanted normal kids. Saiqa gave the police a detailed video confession in which she described in minute detail how she killed her children. There was no indication to the untrained ear or eye of any mental defect in the 911 call or the confession. It seemed as if Saiqa was a coldblooded child killer. There was national and international outrage because the motive for the killings seemed to be that the children were austic and not normal.
Through forensic mental examinations and interviews with her extended family, it was revealed that Saiqa had a severe mental illness that began in her early childhood and progressively got worse with age. In her mind, she was living in a very bizarre world that was very real to her. We were able to prove through expert and lay testimony that Saiqa was insane at the time of the killings and she was found not guilty by reason of insanity.
The case of a twenty-three year old charged with indecency with a child by contact is an example of an intellectually disabled adult who was found not guilty by reason of insanity. Our forensic expert in this case was able to demonstrate that the defendant did not know his conduct was wrong at the time of the incident. He was not aware of the boundaries involving sexual activity, nor did he understand the impact of his actions on others. We demonstrated to the Court that his issues were best addressed by a mental health facility not prison, and that a conviction of a criminal offense was not justified in this situation.
The case of a twenty-seven year old male charged with capital murder is an example of how diminished capacity can impact on the intention and knowledge of the wrongdoing (mens rea). The defendant was charged with the capital murder of an infant. He gave a lengthy recorded interview with the police in which he ultimately told the police that he accidentally killed the infant. Our forensic expert was able to demonstrate through this interview how the defendant had a very low IQ and that his thought processes were not that of a twenty-seven year old but were much more consistent with those of a child.
Witnesses were well aware that defendant was “slow” as they described him, yet these same witnesses allowed him to babysit an infant. The overall care of the infant by the adults who should have known how to care for him was not good. We were able to show through those witnesses and expert testimony that defendant was guilty only of negligent injury to a child.