This might sound crazy at first but after learning the facts, could it be genius? The police might have just caught an actual killer. Let us know your thoughts.
A hunt for the killer of two sleeping homeless men in Las Vegas led to an unusual attempted murder charge Tuesday and a legal debate about criminal intent, when a man was accused of trying to kill a mannequin used as a decoy near the downtown site where the men had died of head injuries.
The charge was lodged against 30-year-old Shane Allen Schindler at a hearing in which a justice of the peace ordered him to undergo a mental competency evaluation.
Clark County Public Defender Phil Kohn derided the charge of attempted murder as “a legal impossibility,” saying someone can’t kill an inanimate object.
But Nevada appellate law appears to support the charge. The state Supreme Court in 1976 rejected an argument asserting that “since it is legally impossible to commit the crime, it must also be legally impossible to attempt the crime.”
“We decline to concern ourselves with the niceties of distinction between physical and legal impossibility,” the court said at the time. It issued a similar ruling in 1989.
Laws in most states take into account what a defendant is thinking at the time of a crime, said Deborah Denno, a Fordham University law professor who authored a recent article about defendants and criminal intent.
“You can’t murder a mannequin,” Denno agreed. “But if the facts were as he believed them to be, he would have been bashing the head of a human being.”