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Defense rests on 3rd day of hearings


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SOUTH BEND — The defense rested its case Thursday after one more doctor testified that Michael Dean Overstreet’s mental illness is so severe that he can’t be executed.

In the third day of hearings in South Bend, attorneys spent more than four hours questioning Dr. George Parker, who evaluated Overstreet as recently as August.

Parker detailed Overstreet’s history of mental illness and his delusions. Overstreet wants to be executed because he thinks the lethal injection will lead to him waking up from his coma in a nursing home. He believes he accidentally shot himself while listening to a news report about Kelly Eckart’s disappearance, Parker said. Overstreet was convicted in 2000 of abducting, raping and murdering the 18-year-old Boggstown woman.

 

“When you go below the surface, it’s a psychotic world he lives in, and that’s a daily existence I wouldn’t want to wish on anyone,” Parker said.

Deputy attorneys general again challenged claims that Overstreet is not competent, such as by pointing out that he was sad when a relative died, showing he knows what death means.

They will use the final day of hearings today to continue trying to disprove that Overstreet’s delusions affect his competency. Dr. Shaun Wood, who evaluated Overstreet this year, is scheduled to testify this morning. Attorneys also will try to present transcripts of emails, phone calls and letters Overstreet made while in prison to provide additional insight into his thoughts and behavior.

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