Man Beats Murder Rap With Vampire Defense

Psychologists Testify About Palmer's Mental Illness

A man who killed another man because he thought his girlfriend was being turned into a vampire has been found not guilty by reason of insanity.

The verdict against Kirk Palmer, 28, was delivered Wednesday by Boulder District Judge Morris Sandstead, who sentenced him to the mental hospital in Pueblo, Colo. Palmer had been charged with murder in the case.

Testimony during the trial indicated that Palmer killed Antonia Vierira with a shotgun blast because he was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia at the time of the crime.

Palmer told a psychologist that four days before the July 2001 killing, he was removing a splinter from his girlfriend's finger when he saw Vieira come out of his girlfriend's body and say, "I bit her. Ha ha. She is a member of a vampire gang."

Other testimony indicated that Palmer fled to Canada hours after the killing, but his defense attorney said that it was not an attempt to avoid arrest but was part of a pre-planned trip to California -- by way of Canada -- in order "cleanse his spirit."

If Palmer is found to be sane at any time, he could be released from confinement.

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