Psychiatric defense planned for Times Square driver Richard Rojas

FILE- In this May 19, 2017, file photo, Richard Rojas, of the Bronx, N.Y., appears in court in Manhattan Criminal Court, in New York. Rojas, who is accused of mowing down a crowd of Times Square pedestrians with his car, is scheduled to be in court Thursday, July 13, where he is expected to enter a plea. (R. Umar Abbasi/New York Post via AP, Pool)

The driver who killed 18-year-old Alyssa Elsman of Portage and hurt 22 others in a Times Square sidewalk rampage earlier this year will use mental illness as a defense.

Richard Rojas' attorney, in a court hearing Monday, told the judge he will use his psychiatric defense.

Rojas was not present for the hearing, but the 27-year-old has a history of mental illness and told police he had smoked marijuana laced with PCP before he turned his car the wrong way up Seventh Avenue and barreled along the sidewalk for three and a half blocks.

After his arrest, he said he wanted to “kill them all.”

Police said Rojas steered his sport-utility vehicle onto a sidewalk at 42nd Street and Seventh Avenue and hit the gas.

Rojas is charged with murder under two different legal theories. One count alleges that he intended to kill Elsman, and another that he killed her by acting with depraved indifference to human life.

Defense attorney Enrico DeMarco is challenging a search of Rojas’ apartment. He said medical records were seized.

The prosecutor in the case told the judge some papers were contained with Rojas’ medical records, and investigators closed them as they realized what they were.

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