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Man Pleads Not Guilty in Murder, Torture Case

May 15, 1987|Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA — The lawyer for a man accused of murdering two women and kidnaping, raping and torturing four more said Thursday his client is "completely and totally insane" and entered not guilty pleas to all charges.

Gary Heidnik, wearing an oversized Navy pea coat, saluted Common Pleas Judge Charles Durham at his trial arraignment. On instructions from attorney A. Charles Peruto Jr., he declined to answer questions.

The 43-year-old Heidnik, a self-styled minister, allegedly lured prostitutes and mentally retarded women to the basement of his north Philadelphia home.

Specifically, Heidnik is charged with the deaths of Sandra Lindsay, 24, and Deborah Dudley, 23, and with kidnaping and holding captive four other women who were raped and assaulted while chained and handcuffed in the basement.

"There's absolutely no question in my mind that he is completely and totally insane," Peruto said after the hearing. He said that doctors were conducting mental tests to confirm that position.

Peruto said that he will file an insanity plea after tests are complete, probably before June 19 when the judge ordered a pretrial hearing.

During the hearing, the judge asked, "How old are you?" and Heidnik responded, "Yes, sir."

"Can you speak English?" Durham asked. Again the answer, "Yes, sir."

"Are you going to the moon today?" the judge asked. Heidnik looked up, but said nothing.

At that point, Peruto told Durham that he had advised Heidnik not to answer questions and that the lawyer was entering not guilty pleas on all charges.

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