The Law: The Credible Psychopath

When Gunman Dana Nash was tried in 1962 for killing a Chicago union official, the key witness against him was his nephew, William Triplett, who had helped him commit the murder. Nash knew that a prison psychiatrist had once diagnosed his nephew as "a true psychopath." To impeach Triplett's credibility, Nash asked the trial judge to order a psychiatric examination. The judge refused. After Nash received a sentence of 99 to 150 years, he appealed on the ground, among others, of this alleged error. By definition, he argued, a psychopath is a liar and "unworthy of belief."

Not so, the Illinois Supreme...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!