Arrest of Robert Hansen: Psychiatric Evaluation

Dr. Irvin Rothrock was Alaska’s leading expert on the psychiatric evaluation of murderers. Born to a farming family in Arkansas, Rothrock studied medicine and then psychiatry, eventually joining the psychiatry faculty at the University of Kansas Medical Center, where he taught for more than 12 years. He came to Fairbanks in 1977 and traveled all over Alaska performing forensic evaluations and testifying as an expert witness. Now he was being asked to evaluate one Robert C. Hansen.

Dr. Irvin A. Rothrock

10-17-83: D.A. Pat Doogan returns to Fairbanks furnishes Dr. ROTHROCK with copies of HANSEN cases for evaluation.

10-20-83: Dr. ROTHROCK contacted via telephone by Sergeant Flothe reference background material previously sent to him regarding HANSEN. Information added to affidavit.

Dr. Rothrock was not the first psychiatrist to take a look at the baker.

In 1972, shortly after abducting the trooper’s daughter, Hansen was given a psychiatric evaluation by Dr. J. Ray Langdon. Dr. Langdon found that Hansen:

Exhibited a compulsive personality with through disorder, perhaps with periodic schizophrenic episodes during which he dissociated in a psychotic rather than neurotic fashion. Doctor Langdon concluded that, assuming his diagnosis to be correct, Hansen’s mental illness would be very difficult to treat successfully. Langdon included in his evaluation that Hansen in his teens used to fantasize doing all sorts of harmful things to girls.

In the late 70’s, Hansen was again evaluated by psychiatrist, Dr. Robert McMannon, who examined him in conjunction with a Larceny from a Building conviction (when he stole a chain saw from a big box store). Dr. McMannon testified at Hansen’s sentencing as to his professional diagnosis of the baker, saying he would be:

Reluctant to stop [Hansen’s] treatment by medication (thorazine or lithium) and if he did stop such treatment he would have Hansen come back for at least quarterly evaluations to review how he was doing. Dr. McMannon also stated that Hansen should always be under medical attention for his disorder (manic depression).

With that background established, it was certain that the Robert Hansen case was to be Dr. Rothrock’s biggest one to date, if not his career.

Purchase Butcher, Baker

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