Psychiatrist says man accused of murder, rape has brain defect - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Psychiatrist says man accused of murder, rape has brain defect

(Georgetown-AP) August 9, 2006 - Stephen Stanko's lawyer is saying that his client was insane at the time of the killing and rape.

Stanko is charged with killing 43-year-old Laura Ling and raping a teenage girl last year. Prosecutors say he strangled Ling while he held down the teenage girl he had just beaten and raped.

In court Wednesday, psychiatrist James Thrasher testified. He says the frontal lobes of Stanko's brain do not function properly. That's the part of the brain that helps people make moral decisions.

Tuesday, a SLED agent said DNA samples taken from the crime scene matched Stanko.

The state is seeking the death penalty against 38-year-old Stanko.

Stanko is also charged with killing 74-year-old Henry Lee Turner. A trial date has not been set in that case.

updated 7:12pm by Bryce Mursch

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