US Supreme Court to review Kansas' lack of insanity defense

(MGN)

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) -- The U.S. Supreme Court is preparing to consider how far states can go toward eliminating the insanity defense in criminal trials as it reviews the case of a Kansas man sentenced to die for killing four relatives.

The high court plans to hear arguments Monday in James Kraig Kahler's case. He went to the home of his estranged wife's grandmother about 20 miles south of Topeka the weekend after Thanksgiving 2009 and fatally shot the two women and his two teenage daughters.

Kahler's attorneys have argued that he was in the grips of a depression so severe that he experienced an extreme emotional disturbance that disassociated him from reality.

His attorneys argue Kansas violated the U.S. Constitution by abolishing the right to pursue an insanity defense.