The Curious Case of Kenneth Parks

10/25/11
  • Share This:
Carlos H. Schenck

Recognized for his contributions to sleep research, Carlos H. Schenck has helped identify a wide range of extreme sleep behaviors known as parasomnias and therapies to treat them, as well as their potential forensic consequences.

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