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Castor remains 'defiant'

DA Fitzpatrick is seeking an order from Judge Joseph Fahey authorizing grand jury minutes -- normally secret by law -- to be given to Cayuga County officials who intend to prosecute Castor for the January 2000 poisoning death of first husband Michael Wallace.

At last Thursday's hearing Fahey reserved judgment, but said he'll decide by May 4.

Psychiatrist says Castor exhibited 'extreme selfishness'

On the 20/20 Web site, forensic psychiatrist Dr. James Knoll explained the reasons why women murder their mates.

Most serial killers are men, said Knoll, the director of forensic psychiatry at SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse. Men who repeatedly kill typically do so to fulfill sadistic sexual urges.

"In the case of women or so-called 'black widow' killers, their primary motive is simply material gain or to simply preserve or better their lifestyle," Knoll said. In a study of 105 serial killers who are women, he said, a significant majority used poison to kill their victims

The psychiatrist consulted with the prosecution on the Castor case but did not personally examine the defendant nor did he testify.

While stressing that his observations were drawn not from personal analysis of Castor but from his years of experience dealing with murders and suicides, Knoll pointed out that "Classically, psychopaths tend to view others not as human beings with all the respect for the individual that this entails but rather as 'objects' to be used for their own gain, and when need be, tossed away like a used Kleenex."

One of the most important things Knoll did for the DA's case was analyze the alleged suicide note which the prosecution contended Castor had written in an effort to frame her oldest daughter, Ashley Wallace. Knoll has personally studied more than 200 actual suicide notes, and he said the typed note in the Castor case contained "several atypical features."

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