Anthony Darnell Wade, who has been convicted of raping, torturing and killing an 84-year-old Anaheim widow he robbed, had a family history of schizophrenia, was diagnosed as bipolar and was passed around by relatives throughout his childhood, his attorney reportedly told jurors today.
The Santa Ana jury is tasked with considering whether to recommend a death sentence for the Los Angeles 28-year-old.
Despite pleading not guilty by reason of insanity, Wade was found guilty by the jury on Sept. 6 of first-degree murder, elder abuse, first-degree robbery, torture forcible rape and car theft, and sentencing enhancements for using a deadly weapon and causing great bodily injury to someone older than 70, and special circumstance allegations of committing murder during the commission of rape, torture, robbery and burglary were found true.
The conviction paved the way for a second phase of the trial against Wade that opened today to consider the death penalty. Andrew Nechaev, the Orange County Public Defender's Office attorney representing Wade, said the "chaotic nature" of his client's upbringing and the "multi-generational" history of mental illness in his family contributed to the crimes, Paul Anderson reported for City News Service.
Wade's mother got pregnant with him when she was 16 and asked his grandmother to raise him, and she in turn asked a couple they knew, "Do you all want a little boy? His parents don't want him," Nechaev reportedly said.
A stable upbringing with that couple was "sporadically" interrupted by Wade's biological mother taking him back as she lived out of motels, where she often left the boy alone, according to Nechaev. The mom eventually remarried and moved with then-9-year-old Wade to San Antonio, Texas, where he underwent beatings, Nechaev reportedly said.
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The public defender is claimed to have told jurors a psychiatric expert will testify that she diagnosed Wade with bipolar disorder and how he worsened over the years when it was not treated.
Deputy District Attorney Ebrahim Baytieh reportedly informed jurors he will present "one of the most beautiful human beings you will ever get to hear about," Bessie Whyman, and how she "was put through hell" by Wade on Jan. 10, 2010.