While police in Portland search for a HUMMER vandal, lawyers in California are fighting for one’s release. The name William Cottrell came up during the coverage of a Portland HUMMER dealership that saw 15 vehicles damaged by harsh chemicals last weekend (photos). In 2003, Cottrell was convicted for his part in the arson of a West Covina, CA HUMMER dealership in that caused millions of dollars in damage. Last week a California appeals court decided to overturn Cottrell’s conviction.
The court ruled that Cottrell’s lawyers should have been able to introduce evidence that Asperger’s syndrome affected his judgment. Asperger’s syndrome affects a person’s ability to socialize and communicate effectively with others, which his lawyer says made it, “difficult for him to communicate with the jury in a way that would have given him a fair trial.”
While federal prosecutors determine how to proceed, Cottrell’s lawyer is fighting for his release from prison saying, “I think everyone who knows he has this disability has to wonder how it plays out in a prison setting. It can’t be easy for a Caltech genius to be exposed to lots of prison violence.”
At this time, Cottrell has only served about 2/3rds of his 100 month sentence.
Source: Pasadena Weekly