Man who beheaded his wife 31 years ago and pleads insanity to stay under judicial review


Tanner was released from a mental health facility in 1996, six years after killing 21-year-old Maria Tanner.


Maria Barker Tanner, who was killed by Raymond Tanner in 1990.

Credit: NONE

Maria Barker Tanner, who was killed by Raymond Tanner in 1990.

Maria Barker Tanner, who was killed by Raymond Tanner in 1990.

Credit: NONE

Credit: NONE

After being accommodated in a mental institution, Tanner was released on conditional arrangements which have continued to this day. Specifically, in 1996 he was required to have eight counseling sessions per year at a Dayton facility, as well as undergo two random drug tests per year.

Over the years, those reporting requirements declined, but Tanner remained under judicial review. Tanner is now required to attend a therapy session with a counselor every four months.

Dr. Myron Fridman testified as the designated forensic monitor. He has evaluated Tanner several times in 12 years.

Fridman testified that there had been some disagreement over Tanner’s diagnosis of mental illness, but said a single episode of major depressive disorder seemed to match his symptoms better.

The doctor said the data suggests “that at least 60 percent of people with major depressive disorder, a single episode can expect to have a second episode,” according to court documents.

Fridman recommended, as he had done in previous exams, that Tanner see a therapist, “not for treatment, but in the interest of public safety” so that the therapist has “the opportunity to detect anything. symptom that could indicate the onset of a second major depressive episode. episode.”

To exploreHe beheaded his wife 29 years ago, but said he was no longer mentally ill. A court disagreed.

At the same hearing, Dr Jennifer O’Donnell, director of the Forensic Evaluation Services Center, said she interviewed Tanner for about 50 minutes in preparation for the exam. She previously assessed Tanner in 2015 and 2017.

O’Donnell was unable to offer a diagnosis as to Tanner’s original mental illness, but disagreed with Fridman’s diagnosis that Tanner’s mental illness was a depressive disorder .

The doctor said Tanner now admits the value of being able to periodically “engage in a therapy session with someone who he can discuss his personal feelings with without judgment.”

O’Donnell testified that Tanner was in remission from an unspecified serious mental illness and “does not suffer from any serious mental illness or defect.”

She added that Tanner’s current theory is “that steroid use and stress caused him to behead his wife.”

At the most recent hearing, forensic psychologist Dr. Terrance Kukor testified for the defense. He interviewed Tanner twice in the spring of this year.

In her testimony, Kukor said the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior and that “the severity and shocking nature of the violence” in this case is “a clear cause for concern.”

But, Kukor said Tanner’s lack of violence over the past 30 years “bodes well from a risk assessment perspective.”

Kukor said he did not observe any behavioral agitation during interviews with Tanner and that Tanner’s family did not report any behavior of concern.

However, during Kukor’s cross-examination by Assistant District Attorney Jon Marshall, regarding the semantics of using the term “index offense” instead of “murder”, Tanner had an explosion stating “I am not on trial”, according to court records.

Kukor agreed with Fridman that Tanner’s most accurate diagnosis is a single episode of major depressive disorder. About 50% of those diagnosed have recurring illness and are likely to have five episodes in their lifetime, Kukor said in his testimony.

McElfresh cited Tanner’s outburst in court as “disturbing and erratic behavior as further evidence of Tanner’s lack of understanding of his illness.” as well as Tanner’s negative attitude towards treatment and the inconsistent lack of diagnoses as reasons for continuing judicial oversight.

“Indeed, the tribunal concludes that there is no evidence to suggest why a postponement occurred. Further, this court has no confidence that Tanner would continue with treatment to maintain any state of remission if his appointment ended, ”McElfrey wrote in his decision.

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