John Delling – Responsibility

If you aren’t from Boise, or don’t know who John Delling is, read this article to get up to speed.
“A Tragic Journey”

I grew up with Dave Boss. This is not some unrelated news headlines with abstract questions.

The Ada County court has determined that John Delling is not competent to stand trial for his murders, though he may be in the future.

BOISE — Everyone agrees – accused killer John Delling is not competent to stand trial at this time. That determination was first made by a court-appointed psychologist earlier this month… Delling has been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and is deemed unfit for trial.


Idaho is one of three states with no insanity defense, although mental illness can be used as a mitigating factor in sentencing and defendants must be mentally competent to stand trial.

In 1982, the Idaho Legislature banned the use of insanity as a defense amid the national outcry over the acquittal of would-be presidential assassin John Hinckley Jr., who shot President Ronald Reagan in 1981.

Montana and Utah also ban the insanity defense, according to the American Bar Association.

The ban means insanity cannot be used as grounds for acquittal.

Mental health still can be used as a mitigating factor. The Supreme Court has ruled it unconstitutional to execute a person who is insane or mentally retarded. Defendants must understand the nature of the charges against them and be able to assist in their own defense to be competent to stand trial.

Delling has been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and is deemed unfit for trial.

This was probably determined by statements like the following:

“I didn’t have any intent to kill people, let me put it that way,” he told The Idaho Statesman. “I’m pretty much possessed. I have no control over my body.”…

In Monday’s interview from the Ada County Jail in Boise, Delling told reporters he had been sexually and mentally abused during his childhood and that another person was involved in the killings.

Authorities say that claim is part of his delusions. “There’s nothing to indicate that anyone else was involved other than John Delling,” said Andrea Dearden, a spokeswoman for the county sheriff’s office.

Jay Adams, in his book “The Christian Counselor’s Handbook,” has this to say about schizophrenia:

This is a poor word. The term is similar to the words “red nose.” One may have the latter for any number of reasons; boozing, growing a pimple on it, getting punched in it, or getting it sunburned. Schizophrenia, like the words “red nose,” is a non-specific term that says nothing of causes but speaks only of effects (bizarre or strongly unpleasant behavior). Its use, particularly as the designation for a so-called mental illness, out to be discontinued. Hoffer and Osmand are unwise to use this word to speak of a specific organic bodily malfunction… Karl Menninger recently quipped, “Schizophrenia to me is just a nice greek word.” (12 Admissions of Mental Error)

The Christian Counselor’s Handbook (Excerpt)

That was a footnote taken from Adams’ chapter on the subject and I encourage everyone to read the whole context in the link above and post your thoughts.

The follow link also elaborates on Delling’s thoughts. He posted the following comment on a website a couple years ago:

Subject: Demon possession
Posted By: John Delling

The last thing I remember was that saying GOD gave me strength and power. SO I am hoping to get some answers, Poeple [sic]/demons have done things to me that have lead me to where I have no Human emotions or memories. I feel very weak and can’t think feel or remember, I believe that I have died. There is a repetitive theme in my mind that I saw the future and people will wipe my mind and wake me hours later, NOT JOKING PLEASE LISTEN, If I wear a yellow shirt. I have been attacked and abused, discriminated against by many people for no apparent reason, there was a weird event about poeple [sic] putting jew and nazi memories in my mind and then this guy named sweeney which is the name of a person who dropped one of the bombs on the second plane, I guess he may be a relative, put a whole lot of the yellow spinning energy into my solar plexus and then I was sacrificed by possibly a vampire cult as the Sun King or something like that.

THis sounds crazy but please tell me haw I can feel and remember things again. like short term memory especially Thank you.

Someone posted the following comment on the page:

It sounds as though John Delling could be a paranoid schizophrenic. If that is the case, he is a victim as well. These types of patients cannot control themselves without medication, and if he (or those around him) did not understand his situation and seek medical help then he was bound to slide to the depths he eventually succombed to.

The question arises: How do courts determine who is fit and who is unfit to be tried for their crimes?

BOISE – Doctors say proving someone is mentally incompetent is a complicated process .

“It’s a complex look at past, present and the risk for future dangerous behavior,” said Charles Novak, a local psychiatrist.

Over the past year there have been many sensational murder cases.

John Delling is charged with killing two men.

Todd Hagnas pleaded guilty to killing his two roommates and burying them in his bench home before setting it on fire and who can forget 17 year old Ethan Windom, who brutally beat and stabbed his mother to death.

So, why did Delling’s mental evaluation diagnose him as not competent to stand trial while Hagnas and Windom were found competent?

“The main element is that at some level the people understand and truly do know the difference between what’s right and what’s wrong,” Novak said.

Here are the facts you need to know first, a defendant is evaluated
if a doctor finds them incapable of assisting in their defense and they have no understanding of the charges they’re facing, then they’re found incompetent to stand trial.

“There’s no simple way to figure it out,” Novak said.

So here I present a few questions to you: If someone is diagnosed to be schizophrenic because they are unable to determine between what is right and what is wrong, what standard are we using to judge them by?

Second, if someone is unable to determine between right and wrong, if they are unable to do what “we” say is right and unable to avoid doing what “we” say is wrong, are they responsible for not obeying “us”? From Delling’s perspective, these people were stealing his energy/aura/powers and he was trying to take it back. Should he be punished for having a different worldview than us? Should he be held responsible for his actions, especially if it is a result of abuse as a child?

6 thoughts on “John Delling – Responsibility

  1. Jamie

    Let me first respond with Thank you for your continued knowledge of this case and efforts to get the community involved. My boyfriend was next on John Dellings hit list. I posted a comment on the true crime blog back last year when we heard from detectives on the case. My boyfriend, lets call him, Jim for security reasons was the next to die. Luckily the police caught John before he found Jim. We received a phone call from our local police department (We lived in So. Cal) asking if Jim was alive. It was a weird phone call because I didn’t recognize4 the name John Delling until I turned to my boyfriend and asked him. He said “Yea, I remember John..” and he went on to tell me how when he lived in Idaho for a year, he became close friends with John but moved shortly after. That was more then 10 years ago from the killings. The detectives continued to ask my boyfriend questions such as how did he know john, where did they go to school together; checking the accuracy’s constantly. At one point, the detective told my boyfriend that John only wanted to speak to him and that he might need to meet with him face to face to try and help the case. Also, when computer forensics got ahold of johns’ computers from his home, they found my boyfriends name written on several notes with his parents address.. some of the words next to their name was “These are the names of the people who KNOW and need to die..” Pretty scary shit to hear. Seems like a movie or some book, not something you would have to go through in real life. Luckily my boyfriend wasn’t found but the detectives do place John in two cities we had lived in during March of 2007. He was on a manhunt and there is no doubt in my mind or the detectives mind that he was looking for Jim. The sad part is Jim was very accepting of John Delling and was his friend. He never hurt him or did him wrong. For John to put jim on his hit list shows how delusional John is. It’s sad knowing a friend was coming back to kill my boyfriend after 10 years had past and possibly even killing his parents.

    I just say, you probably will never hear a story like mine or my boyfriends but just think, what if it was you he was coming after? We never feel safe anymore. Just be careful of the footprint you leave in others lives.


  2. Kelli

    This is a copy of the comment I posted on the True Crime Magazine website regarding John Delling.
    We lived in Boise from June 2004 to June 2006. We have since moved back east, but our lives were briefly touched by Johns insanity–here’s our story…If anyone would like more details please feel free to comment me back.

    Hi all, I am the mother of the boy that John terrorized in June of 2005 with his motorcycle.
    For several weeks my three sons had trouble with John following them around town and harrassing them. He on his motorcycle and them on their skateboards (my sons were all under the age of 18 at the time, John was 20).
    On that day they were innocently walking back home from uptown with some of their friends. They had seen John on the main road so decided to cut through by Ivywild pool and come home that way hoping to avoid him. Needless to say he caught up with them and continued harrassing the boys. There were 7 of them all together ranging in ages from 13-17. He was alone on his motorcycle, most people in their right minds would not go up against a group of people (he was obviously not in his right mind then or now) He jumped the curb and headed straight for my youngest son–then 13. He was knocked to the ground and practically run over with the motorcycle (he had tire tracks running up the back of his shorts).
    My boys are true redneck boys from the East–mess with one and you get the whole enchilada, my oldest punched John in the face and tried pulling him off the bike. The middle one hit him a couple of times as well, and my youngest not wanting to be left out hit him over the head with his skateboard. We usually do not condone violence trust me, but my boys knew that one was in trouble and John was trying to leave the scene, so they were trying to do anything they could to keep him there.
    The cops were called and John was picked up at the Winco were he was checked over by the paramedics (aww poor baby) sorry .
    Well my husband and I were very naive and let the courts talk us into plea bargaining and letting John off with taking anger management classes and a small amount of probation.
    As god is my witness I told my mom and the victim services lady in court that day–”mark my words, he went from stalking, to battery in such a short time. It’s only a matter of time before he ends up killing someone because the courts keep letting him off.”

    I dealt with some major guilt issues over that. If only we had pushed it further maybe he would have spent time in jail and those poor boys and their families would not be suffering so much today. However, I’m not the only one who holds some blame here–the courts failed miserbly. They should have seen the pattern was escalating and only going to get worse. They are the professionals and should have had the training to recognize the signs.
    I just thank god that he hadn’t quite gone over the edge when he went after my sons, otherwise things may have turned out very differently for us.
    I wish I could tell the families of those boys how sorry I am for all they have gone through and are still going through. I sincerely wish I had been stronger and fought more for my own sons, then maybe their sons would still be there with them.
    If anyone knows any of them please pass this on to them.
    Thanks so much

    Wednesday, July 16, 2008 at 11:29 pm | Permalink


  3. Pingback: John Delling's Mens Rea

  4. nikki

    First I would like to say that theology has no place when talking about someone who has a severe mental illness.
    I went to school with john and in fact I only really hung out with two other people sophmore year John being one of them.
    When I new John he was not as you all know him, he was different but still kind and not at all threatning. It is sad to see how he went down hill so quickly, and I do agree the courts did fail miserably to end the chain of events, as well as the family.
    I would not feel any guilt Kelly for the actions yours boys made when threatened. My heart goes out to all the families effected it is such a deep loss that it brings tears to my eyes to think about, but it was Johns mental illness that caused this, he was not always this dark person that you all have described.
    Just as I have never felt the pain of losing a loved one. None of you understand the control that a mental illiness has on ones actions as well as the strain that this puts on a family. My heart still goes out to Johns family and hope that they are on a path to recovery as well.


    1. We all have mental illnesses nikki – it’s called sin. And I fully understand the control that sin has on my actions and the strain it puts on my family. Thankfully Christ is bigger than my sin and I and others can find freedom in Christ. Thank you for your comment.


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