Criminal Justice

Judge urges former teen serial killer to donate his brain to science

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A Pennsylvania judge who resentenced a convicted serial killer on Tuesday urged the man to consider donating his brain to scientists studying criminal behavior.

Judge Edward Reibman of Lehigh County urged Harvey Miguel Robinson to consider the idea, report the Morning Call and

“I think the one gift you can give to the community is helping science understand your behavior,” Reibman said.

Robinson, 44, was convicted of murdering three females while he was a teen. Robinson’s claim of brain damage has been an appellate issue in the cases, according to

Robinson told the judge he would have to see whether donating his brain is consistent with his Muslim religion.

Robinson’s lawyer, Gavin Holihan, said he didn’t know whether dissecting Robinson’s brain after his death would contribute much to understanding serial killers. But “I can understand the request,” Holihan said.

Reibman resentenced Robinson on Tuesday to 35 years to life in prison for the rape and murder of Joan Burghardt, a 29-year-old nurse’s aide. Robinson was resentenced because of a 2012 U.S. Supreme Court decision banning mandatory sentences of life without the possibility of parole for crimes committed by juveniles. Prosecutors had agreed to the new sentence.

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments on Wednesday in a case that considers whether Lee Boyd Malvo should be resentenced for “Beltway sniper” murders convicted when he was age 17, the Washington Post reports. Malvo was sentenced to life without parole under a law that did not make the sentence mandatory.

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