Did The Voices Tell Him To Kill?

By on November 15, 2012

One of the most common things that forensic psychologists and law enforcement hear when they are dealing with murder suspects is that the voices told them to do it. The so-called voices are just about as old as murder itself. However, because we know that schizophrenia and other mental health disorders are very real issues, it becomes important for psychiatrists and psychologists to dig to the bottom of these types of cases and to do a thorough job. They have to make sure that they make the proper calls with these cases so that someone who has severe mental health issues gets the help that they need in the right type of facility, and those who are faking and inventing the voices receive proper punishment. In some cases, it isn’t easy.

The Voices Scream… Or Do They?
In the case of Joshua David Lambert, the forensic psychologists are going to have their work cut out for them. The jailhouse confession he gave sounds like something out of a thriller or a horror film, and it will take a trained professional to sort through his strange story to determine the truth.

He claims that he awoke in the woods of North Whidbey, Washington, and heard voices screaming at him and telling him things. They told him that FBI agents were going to kidnap his teenage son and kill him. He says that he started searching the woods for a shotgun that he’d stolen the day before from his stepfather, and when he couldn’t find it, decided that he needed to get a gun from his grandfather. His 80-year-old grandfather George Lambert would not give him any guns, but Joshua wanted them and would do whatever it took to get them.

He claims the voice compelled him to stab and slash his grandfather. His grandfather’s sister, who was also in the home receive a blow to the head and was tied up while George bled to death on the floor and Joshua tore through the home, taking whatever he wanted. Joshua was unable to find guns in the home and decided to head to his mother’s house. There, he killed his other grandfather, August Eisner. He killed Eisner in the same manner, stabbing and slashing him to death.

Joshua does not contest that he killed his grandfathers. However, he claims that he is schizophrenic and that he is not guilty because he is insane. He is also acting as his own attorney in this case. Lambert dropped out of high school and has no experience as an attorney, so the proceedings should be interesting to watch. Already, there is evidence that Lambert knows little about courtroom procedure, has had several outbursts, and claims that the court is attempting to frame him with sanity.

However, he is studying law and psychology from his cell, and is working to get expert witnesses for his own case. He’s even petitioned the court so that he can get a laptop for his notes and possibly learn more about law and forensic psychology online. The interesting thing here is that he claims that he is insane and incapable of being responsible for the murders he committed. Yet, he is mounting his own defense and he claims that he can function perfectly well. A jury is quite likely going to see the inconsistency.

What Do the Specialists Say?
Those who have examined Joshua believe that he does not have schizophrenia, but that he may have an anti-social disorder and a lack of empathy for others. They go on to say that if he had any delusions and there were any voices speaking to him, they were the result of his illicit drug use. Most believe he fabricated everything, though.

Anita Schepers provides advice and information on getting a degree in forensic psychology online at ForensicPsychologyOnline.com.

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