Emotional Disturbance Claim Possible in Gay Murder

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com December 26 2010 2:35 PM ET

The attorney who represents John Katehis, the accused killer of gay journalist George Weber, says he may offer an extreme emotional disturbance defense during the second trial for the 18-year-old, reports Gay City News

Katehis, who was 16 at the time of the 2009 killing, is charged with one count of second-degree murder in the death of the New York radio journalist.

“I’m considering proposing an extreme emotional disturbance defense in this case,” Jay Cohen, Katehis's attorney, told Judge Neil J. Firetog during a December 3 hearing. If the jury determines that Katehis killed the 47-year-old Weber but acted under the influence of an extreme emotional disturbance, he would be guilty of manslaughter and could face up to 25 years in prison. Katehis would then serve six-sevenths of that time before being eligible for release.

Katehis’s first trial ended in a mistrial after one juror was not convinced that there was intent to kill Weber when the suspect stabbed the journalist 50 times. Those 50 stab wounds are what suggested the defense to Cohen.

“Any time somebody inflicts that number of wounds ... it indicates to me that he lost it,” Cohen said following the hearing.