Son Sets Up Possible Insanity Defense in Slaying of Actress

Times Staff Writer

A 23-year-old Encino man accused of murdering his mother, actress Susan Cabot, has laid the groundwork for a possible insanity defense.

Medical records filed in court Monday state that the man, Timothy Scott Roman, was treated for 15 years with an experimental growth hormone that later was found to cause neurological problems in some patients.

The records were filed as Roman, charged with first-degree murder in the December beating death of Cabot, entered two pleas at his arraignment: not guilty and not guilty by reason of insanity.


His attorney, Chester Leo Smith, stated in court records that Roman may claim self-defense, diminished capacity or insanity when the case goes to trial.

Court records submitted by Smith state that Roman, who has a growth-hormone deficiency, was among 10,000 patients treated with an experimental hormone in a nationwide program administered by the National Institutes of Health.

Roman took the hormone from 1970 through 1985, when sales were discontinued because certain batches were found to be infected with a virus that causes Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, the records state. The disease is known to cause a degeneration of the central nervous system and has led to several deaths, according to medical articles submitted by Smith.

Smith also submitted hospital records stating that, because of medical problems including drawfism, Roman’s social and emotional development have been stunted.

Cabot, a leading lady in B movies of the 1950s, was beaten to death in her Encino home, where she lived with her son, police said. Roman summoned police and told them that a burglar had broken into the residence, killed his mother and attacked him.

He fell under suspicion, however, after giving conflicting accounts of the incident, Deputy Dist. Atty. Bradford E. Stone said.