June 23, 2010
A judge today found a Colorado Springs man who beat his mother to death with a guitar not guilty by reason of insanity.
Fourth Judicial District Judge Gregory R. Werner declared Christopher Benjamin Weiler legally insane and committed him to the Colorado Mental Health Institute in Pueblo for an indefinite period and possibly the rest of his life.
The ruling comes after a year of psychiatric evaluations of Weiler, 21, who was charged with first-degree murder in the March 30, 2009, bludgeoning death of Mina Weiler, a 60-year-old former Colorado Springs science teacher. Her battered body was discovered at her home in the Skyway neighborhood. Her son was arrested a few hours later.
Werner ruled that Weiler was incapable of telling right from wrong when he killed his mother.
“I’m not sure at the time that Mr. Weiler had the ability to distinguish much of anything,” the judge said.
Weiler sat impassively between his two public defenders, his shackled left leg trembling slightly as Werner announced his ruling following a nonjury sanity trial.
The verdict came as bittersweet relief to several family members in the audience.
“It’s a relief that this is out of the court system,” said Yuram Weiler, the defendant’s father. “And it’s a shock to hear that my son will be afflicted with this illness for the rest of his life.”
Prior to the ruling, Dr. Graham Hoffman, a psychiatrist at the Institute, testified that in his opinion Christopher Weiler is schizophrenic.
Hoffman described how Weiler thought his mother was telling him to kill her.
“For me to live the life she’s lived – I have to kill her,” he quoted Weiler as saying.
Weiler’s Deputy Public Defender Mike McHenry called the case a tragedy that points out how people with a mentally ill relatives need to seek professional help.
“The tragic irony here is that if she (the mother) had been more willing to accept the fact that he was suffering from a serious mental illness, it might have resulted in her not getting killed," he said.
For more court coverage, visit “The Sidebar” blog at gazette.com