Dessy Sagita & Camelia Pasandaran
Convicted murderer and self-professed psychopath Verry “Ryan” Idham Henyansyah said on Thursday that he expected a favorable ruling in his appeal against the death sentence on the grounds of insanity.
Ryan, who was convicted of one murder and confessed to at least 10 others, attended the first appeal hearing at the Depok District Court, where he is expected to present new evidence to prove his insanity.
“To be honest, I never knew what a psychopath was, but after the hearing, I’m now 100 percent sure,” he told reporters outside the courthouse.
Ryan was arrested in 2008 for stabbing to death and then cutting up the body of a man he believed was coming on to his boyfriend.
During the investigation, he confessed to multiple murders and led police to the mutilated remains of 10 other people buried in the backyard of his parents’ home in Jombang, East Java.
G. Nyoman Rae, one of his lawyers, told the court on Thursday that a Canadian psychiatrist had determined Ryan was a psychopath, citing his lack of remorse or sensitivity.
“After hearing that, I realized that I had the characteristics of a psychopath,” Ryan said.
Ryan’s father, Ahmad Masykur, who attended the hearing, said he was hopeful that the court would accept the evidence showing his son was a psychopath.
“I really want Ryan to be released,” he said.
However, Hamdi Muluk, a psychology lecturer at the University of Indonesia, said that even if the court was convinced, that did not mean Ryan would walk free.
“Although he might avoid jail, he’ll have to be kept in a mental institution for a long time, 10 to 15 years,” he told the Jakarta Globe.
He added that serial killers were treated as more dangerous than other felons at these institutions and would be kept behind bars.
“Being a serial killer [indicates] a serious mental disturbance. It’s hard to be rehabilitated,” he said. “Most people who suffer from this end up staying at a mental hospital for life.”
Hamdi also cast doubt on Ryan’s own diagnosis that he is a psychopath, saying that is something only an expert can determine. Besides, he said, if Ryan were really insane, the police psychologist assigned to his case would have picked up on it shortly after his arrest.
“A real psychopath kills unconsciously and can’t deny the urge to kill due to mental problems,” Hamdi said.
“But if he had a clear motive, such as sexual gratification or financial or material gain, then he shouldn’t be categorized as a psychopath.”
Muhammad Mustofa, a criminologist at UI, told the Globe the onus was on Ryan and his lawyers to prove their claim that he was mentally unfit to be executed.
“It has to be proven whether or not he is really mentally ill, because that was never revealed during the previous trial,” Mustofa said.
“There should be testimony from a psychiatrist that he is indeed ill.”
He also said that though these kinds of cases were rare in Indonesia, there were precedents in which a murderer was proven insane and sent to a mental institution instead of prison.
“But I doubt Ryan is insane,” Mustofa said.
“If he were mentally disturbed, he wouldn’t have had the presence of mind to conceal his victims so neatly. He was very smart to bury almost all his victims to evade punishment.”