Though not presenting a case of self-defense, Robbins' lawyers are seeking to establish a motive for his actions, which could help with a plea deal.
"Of course we can't justify Mr. Robbins' retaliatory behavior, but we might be able to gain the court's sympathy by demonstrating how this monstrous and fraudulent doctor drove our client to exact his own justice," said Levon Metzger, a senior attorney with the law firm Warpe, Wistfull, Kubitschek and McMingus.
"And we have every intention of pressing criminal charges against this specious Dr. Lucille van Pelt for practicing medicine without a license," he added.
Robbins and other patients duped by the ersatz psychiatrist described van Pelt as "cynical, crabby, bossy, manipulative and selfish."
Robbins revealed that during his sessions, van Pelt would direct him to kick a football in the yard as part of a "primal therapy" technique to help him discharge emotional pain produced by an unnamed childhood trauma.
"But whenever I ran up and prepared to kick the ball, Dr. van Pelt would yank it away, sending me crashing to the ground," Robbins explained. "Then she tormented and humiliated me after I fell. But somehow, she always managed to manipulate me back into the same exercise the next day. Honestly, Sisyphus was granted more dignity. But for a nickel a session, she was the best mental health provider I could afford."
Van Pelt also repeatedly misdiagnosed Robbins' condition as hypengyophobia, ailurophasia, climacaphobia, thalassophobia and gephyrobia, among others. After Robbins complained about the wild errancy of these assessments, van Pelt deemed him pantophobic -- afraid of everything -- and recorded it in his official medical record.
Those close to Lucille van Pelt say she began behaving strangely 20 years ago when the object of her unrequited affection -- a musician named Schroeder -- filed a restraining order against her.
(c) 2013. See disclaimers.