November 13, 1996 in Nation/World

Burglary Suspect Blames Cotton Candy

Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel
 

Wesley Shaffer says cotton candy made him insane, causing him to break into a Boca Raton, Fla., home last year and make off with a bag of jewelry.

But an unbelieving prosecutor on Tuesday argued against allowing Shaffer to use insanity as a defense in his trial set to begin next week.

Despite his misgivings about Shaffer’s claim, Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Edward Garrison ruled the insanity defense could fly, but will have to be sold to a jury.

“To say that I’m highly skeptical of the evidence put forward would be putting it mildly,” Garrison said.

Assistant State Attorney Krista Rothman intends to call her own experts to counter defense experts’ opinions that Shaffer, a diabetic, was acting out as a result of a sugar-induced psychosis.

“It will make for an interesting trial. We’ll see how a jury of six feels about it,” Rothman said.

Shaffer, 57, of Miami, was arrested and charged with the April 7, 1995, break-in. He was wearing all black, had a loaded gun in his waistband and burglary tools, police said.

Shaffer, who had no idea he was diabetic, says he ate 1-1/2 bags of cotton candy the night before the burglary.

Also recovered was a duffel bag of jewelry that a security guard said he saw Shaffer dump during a foot chase.

On Tuesday, McKinley Cheshire became the second defense psychiatrist who attributed Shaffer’s criminal actions to the sugar-induced psychosis.

Rothman said she hopes the judge will allow her to present evidence that Shaffer is a prolific burglar, who confessed to 600 burglaries in Michigan in the 1970s.


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