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Metro Digest / Local News in Brief

Obsessed Fan of Actress Was 'Sick,' Doctor Says

October 23, 1991

The obsessed fan who is on trial for killing actress Rebecca Schaeffer was "a sick young man," a psychiatrist testified Tuesday, rejecting a prosecutor's suggestion that Robert Bardo was just seeking attention. Deputy Dist. Atty. Marcia Clark attempted to show that Bardo's voluminous writings were filled not with psychotic hallucinations but with concerns common to teen-agers.

She was cross-examining Dr. Park Elliott Dietz, a psychiatrist who testified earlier in the murder trial that Bardo was schizophrenic. Dietz acknowledged that some of Bardo's youthful writings express ordinary concerns such as the desire for attention and fame. But he said the total volume of Bardo's writings and symptoms suggests mental illness.

"Taken as a whole, this is a sick young man," he said. "A normal person would not repetitively threaten to commit mass murders, kill the mayor, kill your teacher. . . ."

Schaeffer, the 21-year-old star of TV's "My Sister Sam," was shot to death July 18, 1989, when she answered the door to her Fairfax area apartment.

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