Video, used for West's defense, may have been his undoing
Prosecutors: When West tried to justify attack, rationalization robbed him of insanity defense
Now that a jury has found Michael West guilty of gouging out the eyes of a fellow Airway Heights Corrections Center prisoner, a video made after the incident provides chilling details of what West's victims endured.
The video, which West's defense attorneys played for the jury, certainly made it appear that West was insane, but combined with other evidence, jurors rejected West's actions as more of a performance than reality.
The video was recorded a short time after the attack at the Airway Heights Corrections Center in Oct. 2010. As he rounded a corner in the special management unit, Detective Kelly Justice heard West calling himself Lucifer and addressed the inmate accordingly.
"Yes sir what would you like? Oh this is my debut," West replied.
The video camera shuts down for a second and then you can hear Justice read West his rights. After reading him his rights, West takes a knee and begins chanting at first incoherently and then in sing-song sentences.
"I don't listen to you for I am your God and I will destroy you, I am coming with the wrath of God," West said.
In his closing arguments, West's defense attorney argued the recording shows his client was delusional at the time of the attack, that West had inflicted the wrath of God on fellow inmate Chad Bolstad when Bolstad refused to worship West.
"He looked him in the eye and said 'no' and Mr. West, suffering from schizoaffective disorder and a delusion, unleashed the wrath and we saw it. We saw the pictures and we heard about it," defense attorney Derek Reid said.
At one point in the videotaped interview, West believed his victim was killed in the attack.
"That dude I killed was a baby [expletive] very disgusting. Don't deserve to live. When he'll hurt little children but when a man comes at you … I put my thumbs into his brain and popped his eyes out and what he deserved he got," West said.
Prosecutors said when West tried to justify his attack on Bolstad it showed he knew the difference between right and wrong. The rationalization on camera robbed West of his not guilty by reason of insanity defense.
The jury viewed all six hours of the recording made of West that night; it took them less than four hours to return a guilty verdict against him.
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