A man accused of murdering his son-in-law in Ramsey, NJ is claiming that he couldn't have committed the crime because he's too fat. William Ates, 65, is on trial for the 2006 shooting death of 40-year-old Paul Duncsak, who was shot six times in his NJ home, and who was in the middle of a bitter custody-dispute with Ates' daughter.
Ates' doctor testified during the trial that bounding up the stairs of the NJ home would have caused the 5-foot-9, 285-pound Ates "to become short of breath and shake, making it difficult to keep his wrist straight enough to accurately fire a gun at someone from a distance."
His lawyer also told WCBS 2, "He's a classic overweight, morbidly obese, diabetic man. He medically could not have done it.... Because he would have had to go through all of this effort, this accurate shooting, this rapid escape, and this 21-and-a-half-hour drive." Ates was picked up by police 24 hours after the crime in his mother's home in Louisiana, which explains the 21-and-a-half hour car ride. Ates also claimed he needed to take "breaks" during long trips, implying that the ride alone would have been impossible for him to do so efficiently.
The prosecution has shown evidence that Ates owned a gun and "bought books detailing how to build a gun silencer, did Internet searches on how to pick locks and how to commit the perfect murder." The "obesity defense" has only been used in a few cases so far, and has been met mostly by skepticism, but this could prove to be a landmark case were Ates to be acquitted.