NEW YORK – A Portuguese model was suffering from a "manic episode" on the night authorities say he castrated and killed a Portuguese TV personality in a hotel room, his lawyer said Tuesday, providing a peek into how he is likely to carry out a planned insanity defense.
The attorney, David Touger, declined to elaborate on the psychiatric condition or history of his client, Renato Seabra, as he spoke following a brief, procedural court appearance. Touger is due next week to file papers giving at least a basic description of the mental illness that, Seabra will claim, so profoundly affected him that he didn't know what he was doing was wrong.
Seabra, a 21-year-old former contestant on a Portuguese talent-search show, has pleaded not guilty to murder in Carlos Castro's Jan. 7 death. Castro's mutilated, bloodied body was found in a hotel room they were sharing on a trip that friends said the two took to see Broadway shows and spend New Year's Eve in Times Square.
The 65-year-old Castro was a TV personality and writer. Friends have said the two were a couple, but Seabra's mother has disputed that.
Seabra told police he had choked Castro, stabbed him with a corkscrew in his face and groin, rammed a computer monitor into his head and stomped on his face after an argument, then showered and left their Times Square hotel, according to a court document. Seabra wandered the city for a time before taking a taxi to a hospital, the papers said.
Touger has said Seabra wasn't mentally competent to waive his right not to talk to police. Prosecutors say the statements were obtained legally.
If his insanity defense succeeds, Seabra would be acquitted and sent to a mental hospital until doctors and a judge concluded he was well enough for release, if ever.
In the meantime, Seabra is being held without bail. He didn't speak during his court appearance Tuesday.
"As far as a person under the pressure that he's under, he's coping," Touger said outside of court.
Jennifer Peltz can be reached at http://twitter.com/jennpeltz
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