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Judge to decide if man can plead insane based on genetics

Associated Press

YAKIMA – A judge will decide next month if the Selah man accused of shooting two MoneyTree employees can plead insanity based on genetics.

Yakima County Superior Court Judge Michael McCarthy heard arguments on letting genetic experts testify that Manuel Enrique Verduzco Jr. inherited a tendency toward schizophrenia from his father’s side of the family.

Verduzco is accused of shooting Karina Morales-Rodriguez and Marta Martinez, as they opened the store in 2016.

Defense experts said Verduzco shares genes linked to schizophrenia with other relatives diagnosed with the illness, and said Verduzco has been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive disorder and depression.

To be admitted as evidence, a scientific principle has to be widely accepted by scientists, but prosecutors said that’s not the case here.

McCarthy is expected to rule in January. Trial is set for March.

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