Chemical heir John E. du Pont, who claims to be Jesus, the Dalai Lama and the last of the Romanovs, was pronounced a psychotic Tuesday and ruled incompetent to stand trial in the slaying of an Olympic wrestler.
Common Pleas Judge Patricia Jenkins ordered Du Pont committed to a mental hospital, where he will be examined every three months. He can eventually be brought to trial if doctors conclude he can help with his own defense and understand the murder charges he faces in the Jan. 26 shooting of Dave Schultz.
“I think that was the right result on the basis of the evidence, factual and medical,” said Thomas Bergstrom, a defense lawyer. “We should see results within three to four months.”
In a ruling that reflected the opinion of doctors for the defense and psychiatrists appointed by the court, the judge said: “He is actively psychotic.”
During a three-day hearing, four doctors and two former Du Pont lawyers said the 57-year-old millionaire believes he is the Dalai Lama, the Christ child, the heir to Hitler’s Third Reich and the last surviving heir to the Russian throne. They said he believes that assassins have targeted him, that Republicans killed Schultz and that the CIA considers him its top consultant.
Defense attorneys said they have not had a cogent conversation with Du Pont about his case.
Prosecutors, however, noted that Du Pont signed his own name on contracts with his lawyers. And jail workers testified that he showed no psychosis in prison, answered to “John” and received coaching from his lawyers.
“We’re not really surprised by the ruling,” Dist. Atty. Patrick Meehan said. “Is this justice delayed? Not really. Clearly the issue is that justice will not be denied.”
Schultz’s widow, Nancy, did not attend the hearing, although she sat through two days of testimony. In a statement, she said: “I look ahead to the time when justice will be served for me and my family.”
Du Pont’s attorney said the millionaire considers himself sane and wants to stand trial.
Schultz, 36, was living with his wife and two children on Du Pont’s estate outside Philadelphia while training and coaching at a sports complex there. After the shooting, Du Pont, an avid gun collector, holed up inside his mansion for two days before police captured him.
After Du Pont’s arrest, relatives, neighbors and wrestlers said he apparently had been suffering from delusions for years. They said he once tore up his mattress to get animals out, cut off pieces of his skin to get rid of “bugs from outer space” and thought Nazis lurked in his trees.