Emotional-Disturbance Defense Planned In James Case

There are 43 comments on the Hartford Courant story from Apr 12, 2008, titled Emotional-Disturbance Defense Planned In James Case. In it, Hartford Courant reports that:

When James saw his stepson's image as the background picture on Lasak's cellphone, "something snapped" inside James," said attorney William Paetzold of Glastonbury , a veteran trial lawyer assigned to the James ...

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Hartford Courant.

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Fed Up

Manchester, CT

#1 Apr 12, 2008
GMAFB! Something snapped? That's a psychiatric defense? SInce when is emotional disturbance a rationale for murder?
shoreliner

Guilford, CT

#2 Apr 12, 2008
Let's hope that the jury does not go for this BS defense and convicts Mr. James for felony murder.

Let's also hope that Mr. James, if convicted, is given the death penalty by the judge.
Josh

New Britain, CT

#3 Apr 12, 2008
shoreliner wrote:
Let's hope that the jury does not go for this BS defense and convicts Mr. James for felony murder.
Let's also hope that Mr. James, if convicted, is given the death penalty by the judge.
I'm with you. I'm sick and tired of the "excuses" that lawyers come up with for cases like this.We are only hearing the murderer's side of the story. Who is to say this was not premeditated???
Josh

New Britain, CT

#4 Apr 12, 2008
We are only getting one side of the story....that of the murderer......he**, I get upset too, but I don't murder people. Let's get the death penalty up and running again. I'm sick of paying for these scums to live on MY $$ in prison.
AGAIN

Cromwell, CT

#5 Apr 12, 2008
IT READS LIKE LAZEK WAS A BACK DOOR MAN?? STILL SHOULD HAVE HAD HIS BUTT KICKED INSTEAD OF KILLED.
Cromwell Observer

Waterbury, CT

#6 Apr 12, 2008
More Lawyer Bullcrap. Lawyer talk for a client to avoid personal responsibility for his actions. You don't take another person's life, PERIOD. If you do, accept responsibility for your actions and the punishment that goes with it. I really don't give a damn if James snapped or not. Irrelevant. He killed someone. He pays the price. End of story. Put me on the jury!
AGAIN

Cromwell, CT

#7 Apr 12, 2008
Theres always 2 or 3 sides to every story.I would like to read obout his wifes side and what she was doing behind her husbands back with the back door man???
Russ

United States

#8 Apr 12, 2008
Time to Lock & Load
Neighbor

East Haddam, CT

#10 Apr 12, 2008
Just a note on Stephan and this tiny, broken hearted, community in Haddam Neck. We all knew him, many of us all his life. He was a beautiful, well loved child and a cordial, respectful young man.
We would beg the media to avoid slandering his memory to titilate consumers.Please support his family with love.
inquiring minds

Old Lyme, CT

#11 Apr 12, 2008
Were the victim and his attacker related somehow? According to the obituary, Stefan's father's last name is James.

Very sad for all involved. My prayers go out to all.
Now In Killingworth

Sandwich, MA

#12 Apr 12, 2008
Be very skeptical about these reports that James had such remorse and only did everything in the middle of a fit of anger. Consider the following : 1. He had "premeditation" in him because he carried a butcher's hunting knife. That proves there is killer in him. 2. He went home to sleep on it. He did this knowing that the victim was still alive because he was making noises. Then, shortly afterward, such a sob story to the police in the confession. He voluntarily went to the police because all tails would have led to him as the murderer so there was no escaping implication. 3. A picture of the kid on the screen caused him to explode ??? A lot people have pictures on the screen of the neighbors' kid if they are close to the neighbor. James, you are stupid for not coming up with a better excuse along the lines of the victim having tried to homosexually rape you. I remember that East Hampton Bible Church which I believe the family is connected to -- Very conservative and put all criminals in prison and execute all murders and believers in law and order and government supremacy and always obey the government even if the government was equivalent to Hitlers--- Well, in analogy, let me use this cliche : "The Chickens have come home to roost".
A friend

Greenfield, MA

#13 Apr 12, 2008
Ridiculous. Emotional disturbance. What is this world coming to? Yes, James "snapped." So hit him, freak out, do something rational. The man is a monster, and has destroyed countless people's lives. Here's hoping he has a long life behind bars to think about Stefan and his final cries for help. No sentence is long enough.
Neighbor To Poster

Sandwich, MA

#14 Apr 12, 2008
Now In Killingworth wrote:
Be very skeptical about these reports that James had such remorse and only did everything in the middle of a fit of anger. Consider the following : 1. He had "premeditation" in him because he carried a butcher's hunting knife. That proves there is killer in him. 2. He went home to sleep on it. He did this knowing that the victim was still alive because he was making noises. Then, shortly afterward, such a sob story to the police in the confession. He voluntarily went to the police because all tails would have led to him as the murderer so there was no escaping implication. 3. A picture of the kid on the screen caused him to explode ??? A lot people have pictures on the screen of the neighbors' kid if they are close to the neighbor. James, you are stupid for not coming up with a better excuse along the lines of the victim having tried to homosexually rape you. I remember that East Hampton Bible Church which I believe the family is connected to -- Very conservative and put all criminals in prison and execute all murders and believers in law and order and government supremacy and always obey the government even if the government was equivalent to Hitlers--- Well, in analogy, let me use this cliche : "The Chickens have come home to roost".
I also live in Killingworth. I also attended that East Hampton Bible Church as I wanted a Bible believing church and Rock Church was not yet in Killingworth. I agree with you 100 %. That East Hampton Bible Church went "OVERBOARD" with conservatism. Their doctrines were "government control" and always obey the government as you pointed out. They mixed up obeying the government with the Bible. They put the two together.They love putting criminals in prison and executing criminals. Now, it appears that one of these East Hampton Bible Church people is a murderer. Now how do they feel about capital punishment ? That church was filled with hypocrits and they finally ran Pastor James out because of al the in-fighting. I couldn't stand them after a few visits. The murderer should have settled his dispute on The Jerry Springer Television Program as another poster suggested in a different forum. Come to think of it, based on my experience with that church, the entire church congregation belonged on The Jerry Springer Television Program. They would have made "THE BEST OF SPRINGER" !!! I hope that nobody forgets the victim as I'm seeing posts that show more care for the criminal murderer. The murderer knew what he was doing and had killer in him by carrying a mknife that is designed only for killing.
Knew of Stefan

New Britain, CT

#15 Apr 12, 2008
My Grand Daughters knew Stefan they were neighbors. The girls told me what a nice gentel person he was and are very upset by the news of his death. James told the police that Stefan was still making noise when he left his body. Why did he just walk away and not tell anyone till the next day?? James is a monster,he went to his brothers and fell asleep?? My prayers go out to Stefan's family. I hope James spends the rest of his life behind bars,no one who can snap like that should be free to harm another human being.
a reader

Hartford, CT

#16 Apr 12, 2008
Now In Killingworth wrote:
Be very skeptical about these reports that James had such remorse and only did everything in the middle of a fit of anger. Consider the following : 1. He had "premeditation" in him because he carried a butcher's hunting knife. That proves there is killer in him. 2. He went home to sleep on it. He did this knowing that the victim was still alive because he was making noises. Then, shortly afterward, such a sob story to the police in the confession. He voluntarily went to the police because all tails would have led to him as the murderer so there was no escaping implication. 3. A picture of the kid on the screen caused him to explode ??? A lot people have pictures on the screen of the neighbors' kid if they are close to the neighbor. James, you are stupid for not coming up with a better excuse along the lines of the victim having tried to homosexually rape you. I remember that East Hampton Bible Church which I believe the family is connected to -- Very conservative and put all criminals in prison and execute all murders and believers in law and order and government supremacy and always obey the government even if the government was equivalent to Hitlers--- Well, in analogy, let me use this cliche : "The Chickens have come home to roost".
lots of people carry guns and knives on them.i do.

i'm sure i would do something irrational if i suspected this kid was sleeping with my wife and then found a picture of my son on his phone.there is no reason for that.stephan didnt deserve to die,especially this way. but you don't **** with a guy and his family. people do crazy things when family is involved.it nothing new, it happens all the time...
crime of passion.
reader1

Hialeah, FL

#17 Apr 12, 2008
What other forum??
Neighbor To Poster wrote:
<quoted text>
I also live in Killingworth. I also attended that East Hampton Bible Church as I wanted a Bible believing church and Rock Church was not yet in Killingworth. I agree with you 100 %. That East Hampton Bible Church went "OVERBOARD" with conservatism. Their doctrines were "government control" and always obey the government as you pointed out. They mixed up obeying the government with the Bible. They put the two together.They love putting criminals in prison and executing criminals. Now, it appears that one of these East Hampton Bible Church people is a murderer. Now how do they feel about capital punishment ? That church was filled with hypocrits and they finally ran Pastor James out because of al the in-fighting. I couldn't stand them after a few visits. The murderer should have settled his dispute on The Jerry Springer Television Program as another poster suggested in a different forum. Come to think of it, based on my experience with that church, the entire church congregation belonged on The Jerry Springer Television Program. They would have made "THE BEST OF SPRINGER" !!! I hope that nobody forgets the victim as I'm seeing posts that show more care for the criminal murderer. The murderer knew what he was doing and had killer in him by carrying a mknife that is designed only for killing.
response to reality check

Springfield, MA

#18 Apr 12, 2008
Knew of Stefan wrote:
My Grand Daughters knew Stefan they were neighbors. The girls told me what a nice gentel person he was and are very upset by the news of his death. James told the police that Stefan was still making noise when he left his body. Why did he just walk away and not tell anyone till the next day?? James is a monster,he went to his brothers and fell asleep?? My prayers go out to Stefan's family. I hope James spends the rest of his life behind bars,no one who can snap like that should be free to harm another human being.
(This response was intended for the previous comment.) You should verify this church connection. My understanding is that he grew up attending the Valley Bible Evangelical Church in Haddam.
I understand that a few people "snap" under such circumstances, but it says just as much about his character about how he handled the aftermath. Sleep for a couple of hours ???? How can you sleep after you've committed such a heinous act!!! Especially if you believe there may be a chance he wasn't dead !!! He probably wanted to wash off Stefan's blood and change his clothes before he went to the police at his brother's prodding. Classic manipulative behavior. I don't think the death penalty applies in this case, but I think he should spend the rest of his life in prison. I would like to hear Kelly's side of the story as well.
Nosey1

Fairfield, CT

#19 Apr 12, 2008
Need more details here. Mr. Lasak was still making noises when dumped? How long before Mr. James turned himself in? Did Mr. James always carry a knife? What kind of picture of Mr. James's stepson was on Mr. Lasak's cell phone, eg. head shot, clothed, etc.? Mr. Lasak didn't seem to be hiding anything. Very tragic all the way around. Not sure the Extreme Emotional Distress defense fits in this case.
Clueless

Shelton, CT

#20 Apr 12, 2008
Emotional disturbance? Is that what drug use is called now? How about drug-fueled rage. How about callous disregard for a human being-dumping him to die in the woods. Some buddy. Better take one of those infamous plea deals.
Now In Killingworth

Sandwich, MA

#21 Apr 12, 2008
response to reality check wrote:
<quoted text>
(This response was intended for the previous comment.) You should verify this church connection. My understanding is that he grew up attending the Valley Bible Evangelical Church in Haddam.
I understand that a few people "snap" under such circumstances, but it says just as much about his character about how he handled the aftermath. Sleep for a couple of hours ???? How can you sleep after you've committed such a heinous act!!! Especially if you believe there may be a chance he wasn't dead !!! He probably wanted to wash off Stefan's blood and change his clothes before he went to the police at his brother's prodding. Classic manipulative behavior. I don't think the death penalty applies in this case, but I think he should spend the rest of his life in prison. I would like to hear Kelly's side of the story as well.
I do know that a Pastor James from the same area started The East Hampton Bible Church. I do not know if the murderer is connected to the same but the overall connection between the components is likely.. The East Hampton Bible Church was in my opinion a "cult" and had many internal problems and much fighting. Pastor James was put out. I felt it was a "cult" based on my brief experience with it. I was there in the middle of the fighting and the time period overlapped with different pastors. The congregation was truly lousy and all belonged on THE JERRY SPRINGER TELEVISION PROGRAM. After the bitter fighting at The East Hampton Bible Church, many left with some going to the Haddam Evangelical Bible Church. I'm now a dedicated Jehovah's Witness.

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