Insanity defense likely for accused wife killer

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Richard Lockett, 44, arrested on charges of domestic violence ending in first-degree murder. (Photo: Castle Rock Police)

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CASTLE ROCK, Colo. -- A Limon man accused of stabbing his estranged wife to death a year ago after breaking into her brother’s home in Castle Rock will likely seek an insanity defense.

Richard Lockett, 45, is charged with domestic violence murder for cutting the throat of Kirsten Lockett on July 18, 2015. Kirsten Lockett had been hiding with her five children at her brother’s home to escape domestic violence.

Castle Rock police say Richard Lockett broke into the house in the middle of the night and dragged Kirsten to an upstairs bathroom before slashing her throat.

Lockett’s public defender revealed his likely defense strategy at a motions hearing in a Douglas County courtroom on Wednesday morning.

Last week, Lockett’s defense attorney told the judge he wanted to use the so-called “Twinkie defense,” suggesting Lockett’s high blood sugar on the day of the crime was to blame for his actions.

But the judge refused to allow that defense, so Wednesday morning Lockett’s attorney changed course and hinted he will seek an insanity defense or a not guilty by mental defect defense.

The judge set a hearing for Aug. 9 to allow the defense to argue its motion to modify Lockett’s not guilty plea.

Prosecutors promise to fight any effort using an insanity defense, saying Lockett won’t be able to show a judge such a defense could apply in his case, but legal experts say it’s a strategy worth trying.

“In Colorado, it's a lot looser, the insanity defense is a lot looser and I wouldn't be surprised if (Lockett’s defense team) could find a forensic psychiatrist to say that he had temporary insanity, meaning at the time that he did it," said Kris McDaniel-Miccio, a law professor at the University of Denver.

Lockett’s 10-day trial is set to begin Nov. 7.

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