Shortly before attacking two abortion clinics and killing two people, John Salvi portrayed himself as a rebel combating an evil, anti-Christian cabal in a skit he wrote. Prosecutors presented the handwritten script and religious diatribe hoping to show that Salvi was motivated by his anti-abortion views when he attacked the clinics in Brookline, Mass. in December of 1994.
Quotes from the script include: “God bless America’ is a good speech, but God does not bless those for promoting abortion and saying it’s OK” and “In the United States of America, the Supreme Court has killed over 23 million American citizens by ruling on Jan. 22 1973 that abortion is legal.” One character, “Tax Collector Bob,” is also referred to as “Mr. Clinton” and says his cabal, the “Pentagram” needs taxes to fight the Russians. Character “Peasant John” protests that God gave humans land to live on and did not make other men its owners or give governments the right to collect taxes.
The defense maintains that such passages show delusions of grandeur and belief in a conspiracy against the sufferer, indicators of paranoid schizophrenia. While Salvi’s lawyers do not that deny Salvi committed the murders, they claim he was insane at the time. A verdict of innocent by reason of insanity would confine Salvi to a prison mental hospital, with the possibility that he could be released if authorities determine he is sane.
If convicted, Salvi would face a mandatory life sentence in prison. The prosecution maintains that Salvi planned and executed the clinic attacks, later changing his appearance in an effort to escape detection. FBI agents have testified to finding anti-abortion literature and pictures of aborted fetuses in Salvi’s apartment and truck after his arrest in Norfolk, VA following his alleged shooting at a Norfolk abortion clinic.