Abuse by Proxy
I can understand trying to make excuses for behavior, especially when that behavior could mean getting the death penalty but this is just nonsense.
This story provides details about the Army Sergeant who is accused of two counts of first degree murder and three counts of attempted first degree murder is putting forth the defense that he could not possibly be guilty of first degree murder because he was mentally ill due to his (now follow this carefully) step-father's abuse of his sister.
That's right folks, you can now claim the insanity defense because your sister was abused!
Sergeant Hasan Akbar has admitted to the murders and faces the death penalty if convicted.
The man committed murdered his fellow soldiers during a time of war. The only possible excuse I can think of would be some sort of very recent trauma such as a head injury or exposure to a bio agent.
There has been a lot of discussion over on Vox's blog about the the death penalty. I'm increasingly uncomfortable with the death penalty; I have no problem with it when it comes to such betrayal during a time of war. In fact, he should have had his trial and been in front of the firing squad by now given that the murders happened two years ago. The military is usually quicker about stuff like this but they have become more sensitive to media exposure and political correctness.