Still no ruling on kidnapping suspect's mental state - FOX 13 News

Still no ruling on kidnapping suspect's mental state

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

More than a year after detectives say Josh and Sharyn Hakken kidnapped their sons and fled to Cuba in a sailboat, Josh Hakken’s mental state is still an issue.

A psychiatrist just told the judge he couldn't say whether Josh was competent to stand trial.

Legal expert Eddie Suarez says that is critical in this case.

"A defendant in a criminal case needs to understand the proceedings around him and be able to assist his lawyer in his own defense," Suarez said.

Earlier this year, Josh Hakken was found insane by doctors hired by his defense team.

But prosecutors told the judge he was faking it. They even said they have evidence to prove it.

Sharyn Hakken's attorney Bryant Camereno says the couple will both claim they were insane at the time of the alleged kidnapping.

"Our obligation is to present ever-viable defense, and at this point, insanity is a viable option. Whether or not it’s successful, that remains to be seen," Camereno said.

But proving insanity is rarely successful, as attorneys for Julie Schenecker found out last month. Despite a well-documented history of mental illness, the jury rejected her insanity claim.

They said she knew right from wrong when she shot and killed her teenage children.

Suarez says Hakken's attorneys will probably focus on his anti-government rants and writings about a journey to Armageddon as part of his insanity defense.

"Because evidence like that is going to show that he was mentally ill and had delusional thoughts, and those thoughts may have gotten to the point where it blurred the line between right and wrong," Suarez said.

Suarez says to expect the battle of the mental health experts to take center stage in the trial.

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