Defense psychologist: Engel thought he was doing the ‘right’ thing |

Defense psychologist: Engel thought he was doing the ‘right’ thing

A psychologist called by the defense in the second phase of the attempted murder trial of Fred Engel testified Thursday that Engel thought he was doing the morally right thing when he tried to kill Susan Wallace.

Engel said Wednesday his schizophrenic delusions led him to believe Wallace was a running a prostitution ring and had kidnapped and imprisoned his ex- girlfriend Brandy. He attempted to kill Wallace, he said, because he had no forgiveness for her perceived offenses.

“We’re not really going to understand Mr. Engel’s delusions no matter how deep we go into it,” said Auburn psychologist Gene Roeder on the witness stand Thursday. “At some point we’ll have to say he’s just crazy.”

Roeder, who interviewed Engel in September and December 2005 for several hours each time, said Engel was operating by his own set of rules — dictated by his delusions — when he slashed Wallace’s throat, stabbed her and lit her Nevada Street home on fire May 7, 2005.

“The strength of his delusional system was just overwhelming,” Roeder said. “His delusional system forced him to act.”

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Grass Valley and Nevada County make The Union’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User


See more