Attorneys for the 21-year-old Corey Johnson told the court that their client was delusional and psychotic when he began professing an interest in the Muslim faith. However, Johnson became increasingly interested in ISIS and other extremist organizations that use terror and murder to press their political agenda. The situation came to a head when Johnson stabbed a friend who insulted his new faith at a sleepover. Johnson then attempted to stab two other people. The death of the 13-year-old prompted his murder trial. His attorneys attempted to claim that depression and psychosis played a large factor in the murder. However, the judge ruled that it was unlikely that Johnson could be rehabilitated given the fact that he carried out a murder for extremist views.
Johnson was 17 at the time of the stabbing. The child he murdered was 13. He has been sentenced to life in prison.
Psychosis and insanity
Psychosis is a condition characterized by hallucinations and delusions. Hallucinations are things that you see, hear, or feel, but aren’t really there. Any sense can produce a hallucination. Delusions, on the other hand, are false belief systems. You believe something that isn’t true. Unlike hallucinations, you don’t have to be psychotic to be delusional. People believe in things that they cannot see, hear, or feel all the time. If enough people share the delusion, then psychiatrists say the delusion is acceptable. If the delusion is unique to the individual and others don’t support the belief, then we call it simply a delusion.
As an example of a delusion, there were those who believed that the pandemic was a media fabrication to hurt the then-President. These folks not only refused to wear masks, but they further became irate when they saw others wearing masks and in some cases, attacked those who asked them to wear masks. It was largely because they believed that the pandemic was a conspiracy to harm their leader that they acted violently toward those who attempted to enforce prevailing laws. Each mask warn was a reminder that the majority of people did not share their beliefs. That was a threat to their very identity. Yet they were unlikely to have mental health diagnoses even if they were delusional.
The point is that just because you believe in an extreme viewpoint, it doesn’t mean that you are dangerous to others. Nor does it mean that you are willing to kill to enforce your extremist viewpoint. However, a psychotic person may actually think they are doing something good when they are doing something evil. ISIS, however, is not a moral authority, at least here in the U.S. Instead, it is an enemy faction that one delusional teen found inspiring enough to kill for. So, despite a lot of confusion, the defendant chose an enemy of the U.S. to murder on behalf of.
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