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Keep Houston Press Free
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Father Of Murdered UH Prof Blasts Insanity-Plea Deal

A new face of injustice in Harris County could soon be James Dewald, Sr., father of the University of Houston professor killed by his wife last year. Dewald repeatedly told reporters this morning that the case has ended in a "miscarriage of justice."

Kristen Dewald, who confessed to the murder shortly after her arrest, was in court this morning, and a judge - without a trial - found Kristen not guilty by reason of insanity, based on a stipulation Hair Balls reported on November 21.

News cameras swarmed James Dewald in the hallway after the verdict and cameramen asked him questions like, "Do you think she got away with murder?" and "Do you fear her getting out and killing again?"

Dewald was such a news gem that Leigh Frillici, a reporter for KHOU, barked at other cameramen as they closed in on her interview: "I'd really prefer that we get separate audio because we're planning something different."

Dewald called Kristen a nice lady he didn't think was insane, and he painfully told reporters the story that involved Kristen and the Harris County Psychiatric Center a week before the murder.

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At the opposite end of the hallway, George Parnham, Kristen's defense attorney, grimaced as James Dewald gave his opinion about the insanity defense to television cameras.

"Six or seven years ago this case would have been tried to a jury, and I applaud each prosecutor who handled this case," Parnham told Hair Balls. "This is a hard thing, a tragedy that has no explanation other than a severe mental illness caused the death of this young man."

Although she was found not guilty, Kristen will be held at the Harris County jail until she is transferred to a state psychiatric hospital.

-- Paul Knight

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