The Curious Case of Kenneth Parks

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In 1987, a Canadian man named Kenneth Parks drove 14 miles to the home of his in-laws. Upon reaching their home, Parks brutally attacked them both, killing his mother-in-law. When the case went to trial, he was acquitted on unprecedented grounds: The attacker was asleep. Carlos Schenck, a sleep clinician and author, describes the case and Parks’ history of parasomnias—severe sleep behaviors. He explains that a “witch’s brew” of sleepwalking risk factors could have precipitated the tragic episode.

More from this series: Mind after Midnight

Read more about Kenneth Parks on the blog: Basic Instincts Unleashed in Sleep

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Date: Friday June 3, 2011
Time: 08:00 PM-09:30 PM
Venue: NYU Kimmel Center, Eisner & Lubin Auditorium
Moderator: Carl Zimmer
Participants: Carlos H. Schenck, Matthew Wilson, Niels Rattenborg

We spend a third of our lives asleep. Every organism on Earth—from rats to dolphins to fruit flies to microorganisms—relies on sleep for its survival, yet science is still wrestling with a fundamental question: Why does sleep exist? During Shakespeare and Cervantes' time, sleep was likened to death, with body and mind falling into a deep stillness before resurrecting each new day. In reality, sleep is a flurry of action. Trillions of neurons light up. The endocrine system kicks into overdrive. The bloodstream is flooded with a...[Read more]


Coach Burkhead said it was 12 miles not 14!!!!!