“We look forward to a sentence of life without parole for this murderer.” (Maryland State Attorney John McCarthy)
In the state of Maryland a physician who butchered a young mental healthcare counselor 14 years ago has finally been convicted of First Degree Murder. He was found guilty this month in a case that was bogged down through his reported history of schizophrenia over 2 decades, and concluded that he was legally sane at the time of the murder.
Doctor John H. Lutz, now age 78 and confined to a wheelchair during the 10-day trial in Montgomery County Circuit Court, expressed no outward emotion when his verdict was read. Not much of a reason to, because in actuality, the finding of “guilty” means little more than a slight change of scenery. The homicidal MD will simply be relocated from a state mental institution – where he has lived since his arrest in 2002 – to Maryland State Prison.
Investigators told the court that on the day of the murder, March 20, 2002, the mad medicine man met with counselor Nicole Castro for a therapy session at his own apartment. He was 64 at the time. Castro, only 23, was employed as a mental health worker by Threshold Services, a private, non-profit organization that assists people with mental illness. With no known provocation, Lutz attacked and beat her. He then stabbed her in the neck, her face and her arms, investigators told the court. After the woman died he rolled her body up in bed sheets, carried her outside to an alleyway and tossed her near a dumpster. Police went to his door the next day and found the killer with bloodstains in the home and in his car.
Prosecutor McCarthy detailed the forensic findings and called it “a horrible crime”. He said Castro, “did not realize she had fallen prey to Doctor Lutz. She was a magnificent young woman only trying to help others.”
Lutz’s attorneys argued at trial that at the time of Castro’s death, the doctor was mentally ill and therefore not criminally responsible for the crime. For many years following his arrest, other physicians reported that Lutz was mentally incompetent. The sitting judge holds the final say in whether a case such as this should be brought to trial, and finally, in the Fall of 2014, Circuit Court Judge Ronald Rubin announced this: “This man is not delusional and does not suffer from auditory or visual hallucinations.”
It is not apparent from case records what exactly set off Lutz’s murderous rage toward to Ms. Castro.
Our question for the defense would have been very simple: if the doctor had no idea that what he was doing was wrong – why did he try to hide the body?