This is a somewhat interesting article about how defense attorneys are trying to use PET scans in order to find a medical defense for their clients. In this case specifically, one Richard Henderson Jr. who as you may recall slaughtered his entire family on Thanksgiving…
BRADENTON – Three men, each accused of first-degree murder, received a judge’s consent for brain scans Thursday.
Manatee County court officials scheduled one hearing on several motions for four men accused in separate, unrelated murder cases – Clifford Davis, 19, Richard Henderson Jr., 20, Darrell Mitchell, 36, and Blaine Ross, 23.
If convicted, each defendant could be sentenced to death.
Lawyers for Davis, Henderson, and Mitchell requested the procedure, known as PET scans. Ross has already been tested.
If any of the defendants are convicted, results from the positron emission tomography scan could be used as evidence during the sentencing phase of a trial, said Assistant Public Defender Carolyn DaSilva, who along with Assistant Public Defender Steven Schaefer is representing the three men.
“We have to do everything to prepare for the penalty phase,” DaSilva said. “It doesn’t mean we’ll get there.”
A doctor hired by the defense lawyers said the scans were necessary for him to complete his evaluation of the defendants, according to court records.
The scan, commonly used to detect cancer and brain and other neurological disorders, has become a popular tool for defense lawyers, said Charles Rose, a professor at the Stetson University law school.
The procedure, which costs about $2,000-$3,000, involves injecting a person with a radioactive substance containing glucose, and using a machine shaped like a doughnut to scan and detect the body’s reaction to the substance, according to medical experts.
In patients with certain brain disorders, the machine tracks the spot and the rate at which the glucose metabolizes, said Dr. Eric Cotton, a radiologist at National PET Scan in St. Petersburg, which is where Davis, Henderson and Mitchell will be tested.
The information, which the center sends to an expert in California to be interpreted, could be used to support diagnosis for Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and tumors, Cotton said.
How ironic would it be if they found a tumor in Henderson? Then they’d have to race to execute him before the tumor got him?