The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

July 22, 2013

Court peers into Pollard's mind, traumatic past


At the time of McDaniel's murder, Rypma believes Pollard was suffering from one or more mental health disorders. But, he said, Pollard did not have the capacity to form a "premeditated, specific intent to kill."

"I do believe that, generally, Bruce Pollard is not insane," he said. "I think he, in general, has the capacity to make good decisions, to know right from wrong."

But in the moment of the confrontation, Rypma believes Pollard "blacked out" and may have lost that ability to distinguish between right and wrong, similar to how an intoxicated individual will "black out" and drive home, then remember what he or she did throughout the next day, he said.

"I don't believe that he was in touch with his cognitive reasoning at all during the moments of that crime," Rypma said. "I believe he was acting automatically. I think at those moments in time that he was experiencing a complete mental breakdown."

Brown noted that Rypma did not interview any of Pollard's family, therefore all statements about the abuse he suffered as a child came directly from Pollard and no one else.

But, said defense attorney Allen Cook, the state's psychology expert did interview family members who corroborated the statements of abuse, which Rypma then reviewed.

Brown also noted that there is no physical evidence that a sexual assault occurred at Cinema X.

Pollard told police that he wanted to go to prison for what happened.

"That would certainly suggest that what he did to Kenneth McDaniel he thought was wrong," Brown said.

Brown also suggested that Pollard could have inflicted the injuries to his head to make it appear that McDaniel had hit him. But that doesn't coincide with his history of self-mutilation, Rypma said, which typically includes a puncturing or cutting of the forearm.

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