Carla Lewis was inside the Tennessee Valley Universalist Unitarian Church when Jim Adkisson opened fire on the members of the congregation, as they attended a children's production of "Annie."


Mike Signorile spoke with Ms. Lewis, who is transgender and a local activist, about the horrible event, the political motivations of Adkisson (hatred of liberals and gays), and tragic hero Greg McKendry who leapt in front of the shooter's gunfire to save his fellow church members. McKendry was also a foster dad to a trans child.

Great interview, Mike. An update on Adkisson's case indicates -- surprise -- an insanity defense is likely to be mounted.

[Knox County Public Defender Mark] Stephens noted that it is not merely Adkisson's mental state that would be at issue should the public defender opt to mount an insanity defense. His actions, both before and after the shooting, will be judged, Stephens said.

...It is against overwhelming odds that Stephens must mount a defense.

Consider what police have reported with little challenge to the validity of the claims: He bought a 12-gauge shotgun from a pawnshop shortly before the shooting and then sawed it to fit a guitar case he purchased solely for the purpose of concealing that weapon to make his way into the church without undue alarm. He detailed his allegedly murderous and suicidal intent in a four-page letter and allegedly proceeded to carry out the plan in full view of throngs of churchgoers gathered on a Sunday morning...

"You have to show the defendant didn't appreciate the wrongfulness of his conduct," Stephens said. "How coherent were his thought processes?"

The defense has to show that Adkisson "didn't appreciate the wrongfulness of his conduct."

Related:

* Found in Adkisson's Home... the Big Three Conservatives

* Shooting in Tennessee -- Knoxville church had just put up gay-affirming sign

* Unitarians speak out about the politics of the church shooting

* Freepers on TN church shooting - more guns needed in church