Dahlia Lenaris murder by cousin Lonnie Liner explainable?
Epilepsy may be to blame for random behavior
LANCASTER, Calif. —Last week, sources close to the family of Lonnie Liner said the young man, who is in custody for allegedly murdering his cousin, Dahlia Lenaris, does not remember committing acts that led to the death of his relative.
James Monahan, associate criminal justice professor at University of New Haven and a clinical psychologist, previously suggested that Liner might be suffering from idiopathic epilepsy. With developing information from varying sources, Monahan believes strongly that Liner must be evaluated by a psychologist and even examined by a neurological professional.
“He ought to have a psychiatric evaluation,” the professor said. “It was a horrendous crime … the more you talk about this case, the more I have concern.”
Monahan said idiopathic epilepsy has the tendency to cause violent behavior and memory loss.
According to a family insider, Liner’s public defender Rosario Corona, at this point is not anticipating conducting a psychological evaluation, despite the unusual circumstances.
“It doesn’t sound like (Liner) has a very competent lawyer, and there may be some racism there,” Monahan suggested.
Corona was contacted regarding the allegations and declined to comment. She explained that at this point in the case, it would not be in the best interest of her client to reveal any information.
Idiopathic epilepsy is a rare condition that has been researched among prisoners charged with murder and other violent crimes.
“Freedom and responsibility: Readings in philosophy and law” by Herbert Morris said in some cases of prisoners who had been diagnosed (in a particular study), committed crimes in either a state of clear consciousness or epileptic automatism, which is performing actions without consciousness or intent. Morris added that it ranges from difficult to nearly impossible to make a distinction between the two mental states.
“They often take the form of a habitual act or a caricature of a habitual act: When the patient regains normal consciousness he has no memory of what occurred in the state of automatism,” Morris wrote. “The offense lacks adequate motive, and no attempt at concealment is made. In a state of altered consciousness, such offenses as indecent behavior, breach of peace, and crimes of violence varying in gravity from minor assault to rape or murder may be carried out.”
“Notes on crime and delinquency” by Ernest Bryant Hoag explained that the time before or after idiopathic epilepsy fits may cause the patient to fall into a state of frenzy, becoming a danger to himself and others around him. Hoag also concludes that psychic epilepsy, which is uncommon, may cause someone to fall into a dream state.
“(The patient) may do anything in this state, travel about, commit a crime (sometimes of terrible violence). Conditions may last short or long period. There may be no memory of things done during this period,” the author wrote.
Causes of these types of epilepsy are unknown, but commonly have an onset in children and adolescents. According to Morris, there is no cure at this time.
Lonnie Liner, the young man who stabbed to death his 11-year-old cousin and seriously injured her 14-year-old sister, Sharoya, in the high desert community of Littlerock, was sentenced Tuesday to 26 years to life in prison.
Lancaster Superior Court Judge Hayden Zacky imposed the term on Lonnie Lee Liner, who pleaded no contest March 28 to one count each of second-degree murder and attempted murder.
Dahlia Lenaris was pronounced dead the morning of Aug. 3, 2010, by paramedics sent to a home in the 10300 block of East Avenue R-14.
PALMDALE, Calif.—It has been almost a year since the lives of the Liner and Lenaris families were changed forever. It was that dreadful morning on Aug. 3, 2010, when 16-year-old Lonnie Liner allegedly stabbed his 11-year-old cousin Dahlia Lenaris to death and nearly took the life of her older sister.
Some suggest it was a mental breakdown; others say it was pure evil. The trial for the alleged teen killer has not begun, and close family relations have been reserved about sharing any information about the imprisoned Liner, now 17.
LANCASTER, Calif.—The family of Lonnie Liner, the 17-year-old accused murderer, filed into the Michael Antonovich Antelope Valley Courthouse on Monday but, again, the trial has been pushed to another date, April 25.
Last summer, Liner was arrested and charged with the murder of his 11-year-old cousin Dahlia Lenaris and the attempted murder of her 14-year-old sister Sharoya in the Littlerock home of their guardian.
LANCASTER, Calif.—Inside a courtroom at the Michael Antonovich AV Courthouse last Thursday, 16-year-old murder suspect Lonnie Liner sat next to his public defender looking for familiar faces in the audience. They were nowhere to be found.
Liner’s family usually comes to each of his hearings, but this time it appeared as if they missed the appointment.
AbilityFirst’s Harry A. Mier Center in Inglewood offers programs for children and adults with developmental disabilities, such as autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome and epilepsy. The center serves the Los Angeles region, including the communities of Inglewood, Hawthorne, Gardena, South Los Angeles, South Bay, Westchester, Torrance and Lennox.