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Term Faust Mentally Ill



Witneses Tell Lunacy Commission About Slayer's Condition

In a lunacy commission hearing during which the subject of their examination scoffed at them for using "long words nobody knows", two physicians and two psychiatrists yesterday testified that Warren Faust, 25, charged with the slaying of his father, is suffering form a mental illness they asserted might never be cured.

The doctors agreed that the crippled youth, accused of fatally shooting Alvin P. Faust, 50-year-old WPA worker, in his Fleetwood home, suffers from demetia praecox, which they say grows progressively worse with age.

Members of the commission, Dr. John H. Rorke and Dr. Simon B. Glick and Attorney Paul H. Price, announced that they would make their recommendation to the court after studying the note of testimony. They were appointed on the petition of Warden Paul K. Gernert, of the Berks prison, who declared he believed Faust a victim of mental illness.

If Faust is found mentally ill, he may be committed to the Fairview Hospital for the Criminally Insane or to the Wernersville State Hospital.

List of Witnesses

Expert witnesses included Dr. Paul O. Holmer, psychiatrist of the Guidance Institute of Berks County; Dr. Ralph H. Hill, superintendent of the Wernersville State Hospital; Dr. Harry D. Schaeffer, Berks county prison physician, and Dr. R. M. Hartman, Fleetwood physician.

They described Faust as being "stubborn, childish and suffering delusions of persecution", adding that the talked about hexerei, witch doctors and black magic, and claimed his family wanted to "do away with him".

Their respective opinions, when asked concerning the youth's sanity, were:

Dr. Holmer - "Unquestionably mentally ill."

Dr. Hill - :I certainly believe he is insane."

Dr. Schaeffer - "Yes," when asked if he believed Faust to be insane.

Dr. Hartman - "Very definitely mentally ill, and should be confined."

Other witnesses were County Detective Joseph Cafoncelli, Chief County Detective Charles M. Tulley, who is prosecutor in the murder case; State Troopers Howard Soule and Charles Fisher, and Chief of Police Evan H. Stoudt, of Fleetwood.

Gernert testified that on April 4 Faust complained that gas was leaking into his cell and requested that he be moved, and that on April 19 he complained that "wires were being put into his medicine bottle and that they were going to electrocute him from inside out."

"His conversation," the warden testified, "is just like that of a child three or four years old."

"They make you that way," Faust interjected.

As she left the stand after testifying to her son's age, Mrs. Eva Faust stopped suddenly and declared: "I think it was his father's fault that he did what he did."
The remark was stricken from the record under the protest of Bertram J. Murphy, counsel for the defendant and for the elder Faust's estate.

Dr. Holmer expressed the opinion that the defendant is too mentally ill to appreciate his condition and that he is incapable of shamming.

Dr. Hartman said that he recommended on March 1 that young Faust be placed in a hospital, after he had threatened his sister with a knife. The physician said he was called to the Faust home after the family was unable to persuade the youth to come into the house, and because they feared he might catch cold.

Owner/SourceReading Eagle, May 15, 1940
Linked toWarren A. FAUST

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