Tyree Smith Update: Murder-cannibalism trial to begin today, insanity defense expected

Tyree Lincoln Smith
AP Photo/Lynn Haven Police Dept., HO
Tyree Lincoln Smith
AP Photo/Lynn Haven Police Dept.

(CBS/AP) BRIDGEPORT, CONN.- Tyree Lincoln Smith of Florida is expected to use an insanity defense in his murder trial where he is accused of killing and cannibalizing a homeless man in Connecticut.

According to the Connecticut Post, a three-judge panel will start hearing evidence in the case Monday.

35-year-old Smith, from Lynn Haven, Fla., allegedly used an ax to kill Angel Gonzalez, whose body was found in an abandoned Bridgeport, Conn. home in December of 2011.

Court documents reveal that Smith told his cousin that he took one of the victim's eyes and some of his brain matter, ate them, and drank sake in a nearby cemetery.

Public defender Joseph Bruckman told the Connecticut Post that he is going to call on two Yale University psychiatrists to support the insanity claim.

"This case speaks to the severity of untreated chronic mental illness in society," Henry Schissler, a professor of criminology and sociology at Housatonic Community College told the Connecticut Post. "There's little treatment available. Prisons and jails are where most end up," said Schissler.

The State's Attorney, John Smriga, will attempt to discredit the insanity plea and prove that Smith is simply a killer, said the paper.

The Post reported that if Smith is convicted of murder, he could face up to 60 years in prison. If he is found not guilty by reason of insanity, he could end up spending the remainder of his life in a state mental hospital, said the paper.

Complete coverage of the Tyree Smith case on Crimesider