Home / National News / Alleged Cuba Kidnap Dad Loses Bid for Insanity Defense


(MIAMI) — The couple who made international headlines after police in Florida say they kidnapped their two young children and sailed to Cuba will stand trial, after prosecutors told a judge the father was faking claims of insanity.

Both Joshua and Sharyn Hakken pleaded guilty by reason of insanity to the abductions. Prosecutors originally agreed to delay any criminal proceedings against Joshua Hakken after their doctors agreed with a medical assessment from the defense that the college-educated engineer was paranoid with delusions about the federal government.

On Tuesday, however, Assistant State Attorney Rita Peters told Circuit Judge Chet Tharpe that she had to backtrack on their earlier agreement.

“The state has been made aware of information … that might indicate that Mr. Hakken is feigning his insanity,” Peters said. “And has been planning that to avoid a prison sentence.”

Prosecutors allege the Hakkens abducted their two little boys when legal troubles in Louisiana caused them to lose custody of the children to their boys’ grandparents. They then set sail for Havana, but were captured and soon sent back to the United States, where they were arrested near Tampa, Fla.

Its unclear what evidence made prosecutors change their mind, although Peters did allude to recorded jailhouse conversations.  If that’s the source, this wouldn’t be the first time recorded conversations put the Hakkens in a compromising position. Both were caught on camera in a holding cell in April and appeared to be plotting their defense.

Joshua Hakken: Be careful what you say to your cell mates.
Sharyn Hakken: About this?
Joshua Hakken: Yeah, no one can know about this.
Sharyn Hakken: I know, I know, I know.

In court Tuesday, neither spoke nor made eye contact. They will face trial together in mid-June.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


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