The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil,
but because of those who look on and do nothing.

~~~ Albert Einstein

Wednesday, June 08, 2005


The Lima News Report For Today- Click for link HERE

OTTAWA — A Fort Jennings man pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity Tuesday to the drowning of his 13-month-old son. Michael G. Luebrecht, 36, sat observantly at the defendant’s table in Putnam County Common Pleas Court on Tues-day. He looked around the courtroom to see the assorted television cameras and photographers standing behind the plaintiff’s side. He also turned to his assembled family behind him, including his wife, Amy. Judge Randall Basinger approved a pair of mental evaluations of Luebrecht. Putnam County Prosecutor Gary Lam-mers will use Court Diagnostic and Treatment Center in Toledo, while the defense will find another expert. “We’d like to search for our own evaluation, for someone who understands this particular mental illness,” said Lue-brecht’s attorney, Bill Kluge. A friend of the family said a week ago that Luebrecht suffered from obsessive-compulsive disorder, which took him off the job for a medical leave six months before the drowning. The same friend, Tonda Ricker, said Luebrecht’s medi-cation changed about two weeks before the drowning incident. Kluge declined to name his client’s particular mental illness. “Not guilty by reason of insanity,” or better known as the “insanity defense,” isn’t an easy sell legally. A 1991 study by the National Institute of Mental Health found that attorneys argued only 26 percent of cases with insanity pleas successfully. In 80 percent of those cases, the prosecution and defense agreed to the appropriateness of the plea before the trial in the eight-state study. Luebrecht admitted during a 911 call to drowning 13-month-old Joel Michael after picking him up from a baby sit-ter’s home May 23. According to the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office, Luebrecht admitted to submerging his fully clothed son into the bathtub before bringing him to a nearby bed and calling for help. Luebrecht attempted cardiopul-monary resuscitation on his son during the 911 call. “The act of drowning another individual has such gravity,” Lammers said. “Obviously you have to understand what kind of trauma a person had. You need a clear picture of their mental health.” Five other family members and Amy Luebrecht, an employee at the U.S. Postal Service in Fort Jennings, sat in the front row of seats behind her husband. Kluge said Luebrecht’s family, including his wife, were supportive of the for-mer bricklayer for Ricker Masonry. “The family is just shocked with the death sentence request in this case,” Kluge said. “Obviously they have some is-sues in regards to that.” Lammers said he understood the family’s dedication but merely wanted justice to prevail as the state’s representa-tive in the aggravated murder case. “I do not wish to be adversaries with the family of the victim and the defendant,” Lammers said. “I’m just interested in trying to do justice in this case.” Basinger maintained Luebrecht’s bond at $1 million or $100,000 cash assurety. He gave each side 60 days to conduct mental-health evaluations before a pretrial. He also approved Luebrecht’s waiving of a speedy trial, giving the sides until at least Oct. 1 before the trial might begin. Basinger also approved Kluge’s request for co-counsel with experience handling death-penalty cases. The county and state will pay Luebrecht’s legal costs, but the judge reminded him he’d have to reimburse what he could. Basinger also reminded Luebrecht to be as cooperative as possible with the mental-health evaluations. “You will be evaluated, and an appointment will be made soon,” Basinger said. “I’d like to say it’s to your benefit to cooperate with the evaluations.”

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Anonymous said...

I have been going back and reading some of the responses that you have gotten and am just flabbergasted. I'm going to go back to my own reason for anonymity, and that's mainly because of the catty comments I made about my family. Anyhoo, back to the small town mentality. If those very same people were to hear of a horror story like that in the city...and yes, I do do believe that ML's actions constitutes a horror story... they would be outraged with that behavior. Why? Because that's what city people do and that's what happens in cities. But, put the same man doing the same henious crime in a small town, that can be justified away by some because he must be a good person because he lives in a small town with his extended family within spitting distance. Hell, my own mother thinks that just living in a city is a sinful life. Yes, I'm being catty again.

I agree with you on many points. A little boy is dead and that is the focus of this...not ML. I hope justice is served, though. Also, I recall one poster saying about bad things happening to good people, blah blah blah. Yes, bad things do happen to good people, but good people do NOT do bad things like that. And conversely, yes, good things do happen to bad people. That's the randomness of life. This though, did not HAPPEN to ML. He made a choice. It does not matter that he called 911 after. He murdered his son. Oh, and all the talk of mental illness, oh pah-lease! You are so right on target with what you have said. I can tell you that you are rather well versed on the subject, as opposed to some of your responders.

After reading some of the comments, I'm really glad that I don't live there around those type of people any longer. Sure, there are the same type of people in a big city. My work environment is a prime example of small town mentality. But, I have the advantage that I can pick and choose my friends.

Thank you for your kind words. It's rare that I open myself up that way because the comments usually end up being words of pity. I don't want pity; I simply want understanding when I bare my soul for my own reasons. This whole ML thing just got my blood boiling. He's a monster.

Anonymous and the City