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Legal expert says insanity defense not likely for Grantsville teen

A gavel and handcuffs (Getty Images)

TOOELE COUNTY, Utah — A University of Utah law professor says the insanity defense is not likely for the Grantsville teen accused of killing four family members.

16-year-old CJ Haynie was charged as an adult and is scheduled to make a first court appearance Monday afternoon.

Prosecutors say he told his dad he wanted to kill every member of his family.

“That extreme level of unawareness of what’s going on doesn’t seem to be present in this particular case, given that the crimes were committed over a period of hours … against multiple people at multiple different times,” University of Utah criminal law professor Paul Cassell told KSL TV.

Cassell is not involved in the case but says it could be a lengthy process, because of the complexity of the case and the number of victims.

He says this could take months to get to the point where it would go to trial.

“There are going to be motions filed on both sides, exchange of evidence in the case and a preparation obviously in both the prosecution and defense cases,” he said.

He expects Monday’s hearing will focus on scheduling.

“I think there are going to be a couple of issues that we will expect to be litigated pretty quickly; one is whether the defendant would be released pending trial, which seems very unlikely,” said Cassell.