The man who murdered one woman and paralyzed another during a 2011 Atlanta shooting spree testified at his trial last week that he was motivated by beliefs he had acquired about white people when he was an anthropology major at the University of West Georgia.
Nkosi Thandiwe, 23, argued that the bizarre political views he encountered — and accepted — in college led to a mental state that should have been grounds for a defense of temporary insanity, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.
“I was trying to prove a point that Europeans had colonized the world, and as a result of that, we see a lot of evil today,” Thandiwe testified. “In terms of slavery, it was something that needed to be answered for. I was trying to spread the message of making white people mend.”
Thandiwe explained in court that he had attended an event designed to address concerns about racial inequality the night before the shooting spree. He became furious when he saw two white people there.
“I was upset,” Thandiwe said. “I was still upset Friday. I took the gun to work because I was still upset from Thursday night.”
Fulton County Superior Court Judge Kelly A. Lee agreed to allow Thandiwe’s public defender to file an insanity plea late in the trial, reports WSB-TV. Lee then ordered that Thandiwe receive an immediate mental evaluation.
The next day, the judge added “not guilty by reason of insanity” as a verdict option for the jury to consider.
Thandiwe’s novel defense gambit ultimately did not succeed. On Thursday, he was found guilty of killing 26-year-old Brittney Watts and paralyzing Lauren Garcia, then 24. He also injured Tiffany Ferenczy. The judge sentenced Thandiwe to life without parole plus 65 years in prison, notes WSB-TV.