Joseph Chandler to Pursue Insanity Defense in Death of Shirley Tucker

Joseph Chandler will assert an insanity defense in connection to the shooting death of his girlfriend, 63-year-old Shirley Tucker, his defense attorney said Friday.

Chandler, 73 is charged with second-degree murder while armed and has been on release from jail for medical reasons since July of last year. Judge Jennifer Anderson will allow Chandler to participate in next Friday’s hearing by telephone.

Court documents say Chandler confessed to police that he shot Tucker and told them that he deserved to die.

After waiving his Fifth Amendment rights, Chandler told detectives that he and Tucker were arguing earlier in the evening when Tucker called Chandler a “bitch.” Chandler then opened a bedroom drawer, retrieved a .22-caliber handgun and emptied the clip into Tucker’s body, court documents say.

Police found Tucker on Dec. 6, 2012, just after 8 p.m. with five gunshot wounds to her left arm pit, upper right back, left side and left arm. One bullet was also recovered from Tucker’s right chest cavity, according to court documents.

Tucker was transported to a nearby hospital where she was later pronounced dead.

During a status hearing Friday, defense attorney Katerina Semynova said Chandler will undergo testing next week. Prosecutor Jim Smith said that depending on the test results, the government could have Chandler admitted to St. Elizabeths Psychiatric Hospital for mental health observation.

A status hearing is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. next Friday, April 18.

***Correction: Due to an editing error, this story originally misrepresented Chandler’s presence at the hearing. Chandler was at the hearing held Friday, April 11 and he will be allowed participate via telephone in a hearing scheduled for April 18.

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