Medicine: And Sudden Murder

At a U.S. Navy hospital not long ago a 31-year-old chief petty officer suddenly broke off a casual conversation with a nine-year-old girl, grabbed the child by the throat, choked her and held her under water in a nearby tub until she was dead. Charged with murder, he at first denied the crime with such apparent sincerity that he fooled a lie detector. Later, remorseful, he confessed, but insisted that he could not remember the beginning of the attack, had just "suddenly discovered himself" strangling the girl.

Last week, with the case of the...

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