Capital murder defendant to pursue insanity defense - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Capital murder defendant to pursue insanity defense

James Calvert adjusts his files in court. (Source: KLTV staff) James Calvert adjusts his files in court. (Source: KLTV staff)
A capital murder defendant has informed a Smith County court he intends to pursue an insanity defense in the death of his ex-wife and kidnapping of their child.

James Calvert is accused of killing his ex-wife Jelena Sriraman and kidnapping their child in 2012. Since his arrest in West Monroe, La. his case has been in court going through nearly two hundred pretrial motions. 

"It's unfortunately a train wreck," criminal defense attorney Reeve Jackson said. "It's taking time and money from the state, it's taking time and resources from the court and it's taking time and closure away from the victims who want to see this come to an end."

Jackson said the numerous motions and delays from Calvert are frustrating.

"What's frustrating is to see intentional delay or unnecessary delays and that's what you're seeing out of Mr. Calvert," Jackson said. "It's sort of the strategy of they can't convict me if they can't try me."

With Calvert introducing an insanity defense, prosecutors and observers say it in essence had Calvert admitting he committed the crime, but said he had a mental issue at the time.

"Being insane is not the same as being crazy," Jackson said. "And I think everybody who has watched this is ready to sign off on Mr. Calvert is crazy, but insanity means at the time of the offense he was suffering from a severe mental disease or defect, which kept him from knowing his conduct was wrong."

He said the judge does have an option to cut off Calvert's delay tactics if it goes on for too long because the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals and Supreme Court of the United States have both said a defendant cannot 'steamroll' a case to avoid a trial.

"The judge is reaching that point where he has authority now to shut things down and that's dangerous for someone in Calvert's position," Jackson said. "There may be issues he needs to raise but he's wasting his time with all this frivolous stuff and it's going to cost him the opportunity to raise a legitimate issue."

Jury selection for James Calvert's capital murder trial is set to begin in April with his trial set to start in June 2015.

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