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THE FIRST SIN OF ROSS MICHAEL CARLSON by Michael Weissberg

THE FIRST SIN OF ROSS MICHAEL CARLSON

A Psychiatrist's Personal Account of Murder, Multiple Personality Disorder, and Modern Justice

By Michael Weissberg

Pub Date: July 7th, 1992
ISBN: 0-385-30536-2
Publisher: Delacorte

 Suspenseful, behind-closed-doors account of the legal and medical maneuverings that enabled deviously ingenuous killer Ross Michael Carlson to avoid trial from 1983--the year he shot both his parents to death--until his own death in 1989. Weissberg, head of the psychiatric department of Colorado State Hospital, was a prosecution witness in the case. Soon after the killings, irrefutable evidence surfaced that linked Carlson, 19, to the murders. The alibi he had concocted with a gullible school chum crumbled, and, eventually, his bag containing the murder weapon, the floor mat for the Cadillac used in the slayings, surgical gloves, and other incriminating items was discovered. Placed under medical observation, Carlson convinced a series of examining psychiatrists that he was suffering from Multiple Personality Disorder--``the current psychiatric rage'' in 1983, according to Weissberg. The killer claimed to have seven separate personalities inhabiting his psyche: It was supposedly the one named ``Antichrist'' who had pumped two bullets into his parents' heads. Weissberg contends that the accused--hiring one of Colorado's most successful and flamboyant defense lawyers--made a mockery of the criminal-justice system, thanks largely to the efforts of defense psychiatrists and to judges who were intimidated by their ``expert'' testimony: The author's scorn for these legal and medical ``hired guns'' is palpable. After five years, Carlson was found competent to stand trial; but by then, ironically, it was discovered that he had contracted leukemia and had only months to live. Weissberg keeps the narrative moving briskly and without scientific jargon, stumbling only in some strained, nearly pseudomystical speculations about Carlson's motives. Overall: an eye-opening report, told with unusual frankness and a great deal of righteous anger. (Sixteen pages of b&w photographs-not seen.)