Should wrongdoers who are mentally ill be treated in the same way as are calculating, cold-blooded murderers? And what happens when a killer, judged insane, then claims to be cured and asks for freedom?
CBS News 48 Hours has examined these cases:
On July 17, 1988, Michael Hayes, then a 24-year-old moped repairman in Forsyth County, North Carolina, gunned down nine people at a crossroads, killing four. He was soon caught, and confessed, telling authorities that God had told him to kill demons. Found not guilty by reason of insanity, he was sent to the state mental hospital. Now he says he is no longer mentally ill and should be allowed to work unsupervised off hospital grounds. His longtime lawyer agrees. But the relatives of his former victims don't want him freed and the psychiatrist hired by the state thinks Hayes is still dangerous. What will happen?
In 1975 Philadelphia lawyer Jay Centifanti shot his wife five times. He claimed insanity and never went to prison. Now a crusader for the mentally ill, he says he leads a normal life. Did the system work, or did he get off easily?
What would possess a mother to kill her newborn child? Authorities say that some mothers fall victim to an altered state known as postpartum psychosis, in which mothers are not aware of what they are doing to their children. One of these mothers is Dawn March, who drowned her 22-week-old daughter Shawna. March was sent to a mental hospital. What happened to her?
Aired: 12 Jul 1999