Paul Wersick, the 16-year-old Wheaton youth who has pleaded innocent by reason of insanity to a murder charge, was not out-of-touch with reality nor legally insane when a Montgomery Tax Assessor was shot, two psychiatrists testified yesterday.
Dr. Stuart Silver, called by the prosecution at Wersick's murder trial, said the youth does suffer from a mental disorder, but not such "severity" that he would be considered legally insane under Maryland law.
Silver was one of two prosecution witnesses yesterday to disagree with findings of medical experts who testified for the defense that Wersick was "psychotic" at the time assessor George Angerman Jr. was fatally shot in a Rockville garage last July.
Silver testified, as the other experts had, that Wersick was angry with his mother last July 10, and left his home with a gun, intending "to make someone feel as bad as he was feeling." He took a bus to Rockville, found Angerman in the underground garage and robbed him, but during the course of the robbery, Angerman "made some motion and the shot occured," Silver testified yesterday.
The doctor, who is clinical director at the Clifton T. Perkins state mental hospital in Jessup, said he diagnosed Wersick as a "schizoid personality," the type of person who is "withdrawn and reclusive," who fantasizes a great deal and is generally passive.
"A person can have a mental disorder and not be legally insane," depending upon the "magnitude" of the disorder, Silver said under questioning by Assistant State's Attorney Michael Mason.
Earlier, Dr. Eduardo Acle, a consultant at Perkins, had testified that he disagreed with the finding of one defense expert, who testified that Wersick was 'psychotic" only at the moment of the alleged murder.
"To assume someone can become psychotic during the time it takes to click the gun and then recover is stretching it," Acle asserted.
Both doctors acknowledged under cross examination by Assistant Public Defender Paul Kemp that psychiatry is an "inexact science" and that experts could come up with two honest, but differing opinions in the same case.