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“The Tell-Tale Heart”
Insanity Plea
You are the court-appointed DEFENSE attorneys for a man accused of murder. The
man is clearly guilty—he confessed to the crime and led the police straight to the mutilated
body of his victim. Obviously, there is no chance of getting a jury to find him innocent.
However, if you can convince the jury that your client is insane, he’ll be able to avoid the
death penalty and might be sent to an institution instead of to prison.
REMEMBER: Legal insanity means that, at the time of the crime, the killer…
 Could not distinguish fantasy from reality
 Could not tell right from wrong
 And could not control his behavior
Read through the killer’s confession and try to find evidence that you could
use to prove that the murderer IS insane. Be as specific as possible. Make note of
information & specific quotes that could be used to support your prosecution. Next
you will write your claim and two pieces of solid evidence (explained) in a blog post.
Use a quote from the story (the murderer’s own words) to prove your point and
support each piece of evidence. Put the quote in QUOTATION MARKS—“ ”—and
then put the page number in parentheses—( ); the period at the end of the sentence
comes after the parentheses.
Questions for consideration: Do you think the killer in this story is insane? What evidence in the
story could prove that he’s insane? What evidence might help prove that he’s NOT insane? If
this man were on trial, do you think he should be held criminally responsible for his actions?
In our Blog Space under writing workshop labeled “The Tell Tale Heart,” post your claim and at
least two solid pieces of evidence with specific quotes from the story explained and connected to
your claim.