New York State’s highest court has tossed out schizophrenic Andrew Goldstein’s conviction for murdering aspiring actress Kendra Webdale in 1999 in a subway station, the New York Daily News reports. In a ruling likely to have broad ramifications for insanity defense cases, the Court of Appeals said Goldstein’s constitutional rights were violated because he didn’t get to confront witnesses whose statements were recounted in court by a prosecution psychiatrist. The psychiatrist, Angela Hegarty, concluded that Goldstein, now 35, was a predator whose “anti-social” personality and feelings of sexual frustration drove him to commit acts of violence against women.
Over defense objections, Hegarty was allowed to testify what she was told by six people who either witnessed Webdale being shoved to the subway tracks or were acquainted with Goldstein. In a 6-to-1 decision, the court said that, “The constitutional rules that guarantee defendants a fair trial must be enforced, and few such rules are more important than the one that guarantees defendants the right to confront the witnesses against them.” The case will be retried.