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David Tarloff Murder Trial: Mistrial declared in killing of NYC therapist by schizophrenic, Tarloff

David Tarloff, 39,center, is walked out of the 19th Precinct in New York City, Saturday, Feb. 16, 2008. Tarloff was arrested Saturday in the vicious slaying of Kathryn Faughey, a psychologist attacked in her office with a meat cleaver, police said. AP

David Tarloff, 39, center, is walked out of the 19th Precinct in New York City, Saturday, Feb. 16, 2008.
AP

(CBS/AP) NEW YORK - A judge declared a mistrial Tuesday after jurors said they couldn't reach a verdict in the case of David Tarloff, a mental patient who slashed a New York City psychotherapist to death with a meat cleaver.

The defense didn't dispute that David Tarloff killed Kathryn Faughey in February 2008, but a defense lawyer said Tarloff was so psychotic that he couldn't tell what he was doing was wrong.

The Manhattan district attorney's office said Tarloff carried out a deliberate plan and understood it was illegal. It plans to retry the case.

The jury was in its tenth day of deliberations when the judge declared the mistrial.

Tarloff told authorities he set out to rob Faughey's office mate, encountered Faughey instead, and thought she was evil. Tarloff envisioned getting money from the holdup to whisk his sick mother away to Hawaii.

Faughey, 56, specialized in helping people with relationships. She'd never met Tarloff, let alone treated him.

"We're terribly disappointed that the jury could not reach a unanimous decision," said defense attorney Frederick Sosinsky. "We believe this was a very powerful case for a 'not responsible' verdict, as rare as those verdicts might be."

Tarloff, now 45, was diagnosed with schizophrenia during his college years. He has been hospitalized more than a dozen times, recounted seeing "Satan" spelled out in his mind and the "eye of God" on the kitchen floor and viewed pieces of paper on the street as a special message from God, according to court papers. His brother testified that he once found Tarloff naked and throwing eggs on the wall.

For years, his relatives tried unsuccessfully to get him to stay in mental hospitals or adult homes, but he left them.

After his mother moved from the Queens apartment they shared to a nursing home in 2004, Tarloff became convinced she was being mistreated and determined to get her out.

He hit upon a scheme to get the money: Hold up Dr. Kent Shinbach, the psychiatrist who'd first had him hospitalized in 1991, to get the doctor's ATM code, he later told authorities.

After making a series of phone calls to find out the location and hours of Shinbach's office on Manhattan's Upper East Side, Tarloff bought a cutlery set, a rubber meat-pounding mallet and rope. He set out with those and a suitcase of adult diapers and clothes for his mother.

That's when Faughey, who shared Shinbach's office suite, confronted Tarloff. He slashed her 15 times, fractured her skull with the mallet, seriously wounded Shinbach when he tried to rescue her, and fled.

Lawyers will be back in court May 21 for a status update.

Complete coverage of the David Tarloff case on Crimesider

  • Crimesider Staff

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