Profile of a killer

The psychiatric report on convicted killer Michael McLean was prepared by a consultant forensic psychiatrist and was relied on and referred to in the sentencing process of McLean last Thursday.

This report is prepared based on the interviews and examinations of Mr Michael McLean done at the Horizon Adult Remand Centre (HARC) and Tower Street Adult Correctional Centre (TSACC), and from statements related to his conviction for murder. The last such assessment was done on March 14, 2018 at the TSACC.

Medico-Legal Issues

Mr Michael McLean is currently remanded at the TSACC for sentencing, after being convicted for murder (six counts). I am asked to prepare a psychiatric report based on my examination of him.

INTERVIEW WITH MR MICHAEL MCLEAN CURRENT STATUS

He stated that he lived in the USA most of his life and only came back to Jamaica at the request of his mother. Prior to this, he worked for some of the biggest restaurants in the USA. He also lived in Clifton, New Jersey, and met a lot of important people.

Michael McLean expressed the desire to speak to Terrence Williams at INDECOM, as well as the attorney general. He said that he would like to highlight the corruption that exists throughout the system. He believes he did not get a fair trial but he is trying to show the justice system about corruption. He claims that he was allowed to leave prison on 19 different occasions using “false writs”. He states that the police took him to guest houses throughout Kingston to give him 3 – 4 hours with various female teachers that he was in relationships with.

In exchange, he took them to locations where he had hidden drugs, guns and money and gave these to the police. He says that any suggestion that he had a sexual problem and that it caused him to commit a crime is “a Bredda Anancy and Bredda Tukuma story”.

He implored the interviewer to contact Terrence Williams and the attorney general on his behalf as he could no longer trust his attorney, who he says is a police lawyer and a member of the “Lodge”. He believes he could not appeal to INDECOM himself because persons would prevent his complaint from getting through. He also claims that the judge and other persons in court were lodge members and were making signals with their hands during the trial.

MENTAL STATUS EXAMINATION (14/ 3/ 2018)

Mr McLean was appropriately dressed for the setting. He was initially hostile when he thought he was about to be seen by the general physician, whom he described as evil. He became quite pleasant and polite when he was made aware that he would be seen by the psychiatrist.

He was initially hesitant in responding to questions and had a greater focus on the wrongs he felt had been done to him and getting help in contacting INDECOM. He was unwilling to discuss some issues without a promise that they would not be included in the report. When this promise was not forthcoming he declined to respond to those questions.

He concentrated well during the long interview and remained talkative throughout. He had fair eye contact and displayed no abnormal motoric behaviour. His affect was congruent with his mood. He had no abnormality of speech or thought. He denied having any current perceptual abnormalities and none were observed. His judgement and insight were fair. He did not express any suicidal or homicidal thoughts during the interview. He was oriented in time, place, and person and did not appear to be cognitively impaired. He said that he was “cut up” about the deaths and hoped the court will say that a mistake was made.

OPINION

Psychopathy checklist: screening version (PCL: SV) RESULTS (Hart Cox, Hajre)

A Psychopathy Checklist: Screening Version (PCL: SV) evaluation was conducted on Michael McLean. The PCL: SV is an effective, short form of the Psychopathy Checklist – Revised (PCL-R), and the results are strongly correlated. The PCL-R is used for diagnosing psychopathy in individuals for clinical, legal or research purposes.

Psychopathy is a subset/ severe form of Antisocial personality disorder. The diagnosis of an antisocial personality disorder is based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM 5) diagnostic criteria. The presence/absence and the severity of these features are determined by reviewing historical information, interviewing and observing the individual. A score is given based on whether the feature is absent (0), possible (1) or present (2).

The total score is determined and this results in the categorisation of the individual into three groups:

1. Low (0- 12): Antisocial personality disorder is absent.

2. Medium (13 – 17): Presence of antisocial personality disorder requiring further evaluation for psychopathy.

3. High (18- 24): Presence of Psychopathy.

Assessment of Mr McLean indicates the presence of:

• Superficial charm/glibness: this refers to a tendency to be smooth, engaging, charming, slick, and speak with fluency and ease;

• Grandiosity: an exaggerated or high opinion of self;

• Deceitfulness: the quality of being disingenuous and lacking openness;

• Lacking remorse: an absence of a sense of deep regret and guilt for some misdeed;

• Lacking empathy: a failure to identify with and understand another individual’s situation, feelings, and motives;

• Doesn’t accept responsibility: failure to accept responsibility for one’s own actions;

• Poor behavioural controls: a tendency to exhibit socially inappropriate behaviour, despite recognition of its deviance;

• Irresponsibility: a pattern of being unreliable and displaing untrustworthy behaviour.

• Adult antisocial behaviour: behaviour that violates accepted mores of a society that occur after age 18.

There is also the possible presence of:

• Impulsivity: a tendency to act on impulse rather than thought;• Adolescent antisocial behaviour: behaviour that violates accepted mores of a society that occur before age 18.

There is evidence in psychological medicine to definitively indicate that the greater the severity of antisocial traits, the more difficult it is for established therapeutic/rehabilitative interventions to have an impact on antisocial acts such as aggression, violence and resultant recidivism. Hence, a person with psychopathy may not be amenable to rehabilitation or be more difficult to rehabilitate, compared to the individual with antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) only. An individual who does not meet the criteria for ASPD has a better chance of being rehabilitated than a person with ASPD.

These results indicate that he is in the high range (20) for the presence of antisocial personality disorder and likely meets the criteria for psychopathy.

DIAGNOSTIC AND STATISTICAL MANUAL OF MENTAL DISORDERS 5 (DSM 5) DIAGNOSIS

Michael McLean has been assessed as having the following:

• Antisocial personality disorder (likely meeting the criteria for psychopathy)

• Stressors related to his incarceration and trial.

SUMMARY

1. Based on the available information and the multiple interviews of Mr Michael McLean, it is my opinion, with a reasonable degree of medical certainty, that he was not operating under any abnormality of his mind at the time of the offence.

2. Michael McLean currently does not have a major mental illness.

3. It is my opinion, with a reasonable degree of medical certainty, that Mr Michael McLean met the criteria for an antisocial personality disorder (likely psychopathy). This is based on the interviews and his PCL:SV score, and indicates an increased risk of future aggressive behaviour and recidivism.

4. His cognitive abilities are essentially normal and he is probably of average intelligence.

5. Mr McLean understands fully the nature of the offence and maintains his innocence.

6. He essentially describes the murders as being the actions of drug dealers in response to not being given their money and drugs.

7. His interviews and examinations suggest no psychiatric abnormality amenable to pharmacological treatment.

8. He does not pose an imminent threat to himself or members of the public, however his long-term risk cannot be definitively stated.

RECOMMENDATIONS

1. He does not require any pharmacological treatment at this time as he has no condition amenable to medication.

2. The presence of an antisocial personality disorder (especially psychopathy) is associated with a decreased likelihood of the success of psychotherapeutic interventions aimed at rehabilitation. There is also an increased risk of repetitive antisocial behaviour in Mr McLean’s case. This, coupled with his history of a lack of openness, should be considered in the disposal of the matter.

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