A Sleepwalking Defense Brief Case Study

A Sleepwalking Defense Brief Case Study READ: “A Sleepwalking Defense?” (SEE BELOW)

A Sleepwalking Defense Brief Case Study
A Sleepwalking Defense Brief Case Study

SEARCH  sleepwalking defense on the Internet and briefly describe another case you find.

DISCUSS whether you think itís possible to commit horrible crimes while asleep.


On January 16, 1997, Scott Falater sat down to dinner with his wife and children and told them about difficulties he was experiencing on a project at work.

After dinner, he prepared some materials to use in leading a church youth group the following morning, and then he attempted to repair the family swimming pool pump before retiring to bed.

The following morning, he awoke to bark dogs and unfamiliar voices from downstairs.

As he went to investigate what was going on, he was met by a group of police officers who arrested him for the murder of his wife (Cartwright, 2004; CNN, 1999).

A Sleepwalking Defense Brief Case Study

Yarmila Falaterís body was found in the family’s pool with 44 stab wounds. A neighbor called the police after witnessing Falater standing over his wifeís body before dragging her into the pool.

Upon a search of the premises, police found blood-stained clothes and a bloody knife in the trunk of Falaterís car, and he had blood stains on his neck.

Remarkably, Falater insisted that he had no recollection of hurting his wife in any way. His children and his wife’s parents all agreed that Falater had an excellent relationship with his wife and they couldnít think of a reason that would provide any sort of motive to murder her (Cartwright, 2004).

A Sleepwalking Defense Brief Case Study

Scott Falater had a history of regular episodes of sleepwalking as a child, and he had even behaved violently toward his sister once when she tried to prevent him from leaving their home in his pajamas during a sleepwalking episode.

He suffered from no apparent anatomical brain anomalies or psychological disorders. It appeared that Scott Falater had killed his wife in his sleep, or at least, that is the defense he used when he was tried for his wifeís murder (Cartwright, 2004; CNN, 1999).

In Falaterís case, a jury found him guilty of first-degree murder in June of 1999 (CNN, 1999); however, there are other murder cases where the sleepwalking defense has been used successfully.

As scary as it sounds, many sleep researchers believe that homicidal sleepwalking is possible in individuals suffering from the types of sleep disorders described below (Broughton et al., 1994; Cartwright, 2004; Mahowald, Schenck, & Cramer Bornemann, 2005; Pressman, 2007).

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