Attorney Says Documents Prove Army LSD Testing On Torture-Murder Defendant
PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ The lawyer for a man accused of murdering two women and shackling four others in a basement torture chamber said Friday he has obtained files that will prove his client was the subject of Army LSD tests in the 1960s.
″I found that my client was a guinea pig for the U.S. Army and it will be proven beyond any doubt,″ A. Charles Peruto Jr. said. ″If I were to pay rent on the files by the square foot, I’d be broke.″
One year ago, police found three half-naked women chained to a sewer pipe in the basement of Gary Heidnik’s house after being led there by a woman who said she had escaped from the captor.
Limbs of another woman were found packaged in the freezer and another body was found in a New Jersey forest.
Peruto said he plans to argue during the trial set to begin April 4 that Heidnik was insane and the hallucinogen LSD aggravated his schizophrenia.
Peruto said Army and Veterans Administration documents show Heidnik was the subject of LSD tests between 1961 and 1963.
An Army spokesman said the service’s records did not show such testing.
″Nothing exists in his Army record on file. It is not known what is part of his record on file with the Veterans Administration,″ said Lt. Col. Greg Rixon in Washington.
Calls to the VA late Friday afternoon went unanswered.
The VA granted Heidnik 100 percent psychiatric disability after he was discharged from the Army in 1963. The Pentagon has said the Army initially set the diability level much lower after concluding Heidnik’s condition pre-dated his induction.
In another development Friday, Peruto withdrew an agreement with Heidnik’s creditors that would have assigned two-thirds of book and movie profits to his alleged victims. The other third would go to Peruto in lieu of attorney’s fees.
Peruto said he withdrew the arrangement, filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, because the district attorney’s office objected. Heidnik and a now-defunct church he founded, the United Church of the Ministers of God, are in bankruptcy.
Assistant District Attorney Harriet Brumberg said Wednesday that state law provides that 100 percent of such book or movie profits goes to the victims. Peruto holds a $100,000 judgment note against Heidnik’s estate, guaranteeing his fee.