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John E. DuPont Trial: 1997 - A Standoff With The Police, Dupont's Mental Competency Debated, The Trial Finally Begins

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1995 to Present

Defendant: John E. DuPont
Crimes Charged: Murder, assault
Chief Defense Lawyer: Thomas Bergstrom
Chief Prosecutor: Joseph McEdigan
Judge: Patricia Jenkins
Place: Delaware County, Pennsylvania
Dates of Trial: January 21-February 25, 1997
Verdict: Guilty of third-degree murder and assault
Sentence: 13-30 years in prison

SIGNIFICANCE: The trial focused national attention on the insanity defense, particularly as used by wealthy defendants.

In January 1996 a media frenzy began when the news broke that John DuPont, an heir to the DuPont chemical fortune, was holding police at bay at his estate in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania. DuPont had been accused of murdering Olympic wrestling gold-medalist Dave Schultz, and was believed not only to be armed, but possibly to have cached explosives on his farm. For many years DuPont had been an active supporter of Olympic athletes and had run a training facility for pentathletes and wrestlers at Foxcatcher Farm, about 15 miles west of Philadelphia.

The incident began on the afternoon of January 26, 1996, when DuPont shot and killed the 36-year-old Schultz. DuPont, who had recently been displaying animosity towards Schultz, went to the Schultzes' cottage accompanied by his security consultant, Patrick Goodale. Dave Schultz, who was working on his car in the driveway when the men arrived, greeted them. DuPont asked, "You got a problem with me?" and then shot Schultz three times with a. 44 Magnum revolver. He also pointed the gun at Goodale and Nancy Schultz, who was watching from the house.

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