INDIANAPOLIS – Defense attorneys for a northeast Purdue University engineering student accused of killing another student on campus may call a psychiatrist who has testified in high-profile murder cases such as those of the Unabomber and a woman who drowned her five children in a bathtub.
Dr. Phillip Resnick’s name appears on a defense witness list entered into court documents this week by attorneys for Cody Cousins. Cousins, 23, of Warsaw, has been charged with murder in the January killing of 21-year-old Andrew Boldt of West Bend, Wis.
It was not clear why Resnick, a professor at Case Western University in Cleveland, was listed as a possible defense witness at Cousins’ trial. As of Friday afternoon, no competency hearing to determine whether Cousins is mentally fit to stand trial was listed on the Tippecanoe County court’s online docket, and his attorneys had not filed documents stating he intends to offer an insanity defense.
Cousins’ attorney Robert W. Gevers II of Fort Wayne, did not return an email seeking comment.
Resnick consulted or testified in the trials of Andrea Yates, the suburban Houston woman who was eventually sent to a mental hospital after she drowned her five children in 2001, and Brian David Mitchell, the man who kidnapped then-14-year-old Elizabeth Smart and held her captive for several months. He also testified at the trials of Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh and in the 2012 trial of T.J. Lane, then 17, in an attack at a high school east of Cleveland in which three students died and three others were wounded.
Resnick did not return phone messages from The Associated Press seeking comment Friday.
Resnick’s testimony has not generally favored one side over the other.
In the Ohio school shooting case, Resnick said none of the symptoms detailed in a mental evaluation would prevent Lane from understanding the case against him and helping in his defense.
But in 2006, Resnick told jurors that Yates was delusional.
Prosecutors and police have said that Cousins attacked Boldt around noon Jan. 21 in Purdue’s Electrical Engineering Building on the campus in West Lafayette. Court documents say Boldt suffered both gunshot and knife wounds and that several people were in the classroom and witnessed the attack.
One of the items listed on prosecutors’ evidence items is a photograph from a witness’s cellphone.
Court documents have not cited a possible motive for the slaying.
Both Cousins and Boldt were seniors, and both were teaching assistants, but it wasn’t clear if or how they knew each other.
A professor who worked with Cousins has described him as intense and aggressive. He told The Associated Press that electrical engineering students are under tremendous pressure and many don’t graduate from the program.
The trial date for Cousins was rescheduled from April 22 to Oct. 6 during a hearing Friday in a Tippecanoe County court, according to the court’s online docket.