'Twinkie Defense' Psychiatrist Stabbed

ByABC News

Oct. 9, 2000 -- The psychiatrist known for presenting the “Twinkie defense” in a murder trial over 20 years ago was stabbed in the chest this weekend, and now the suspected attacker — his ex-wife — has washed ashore dead.

Martin Blinder called 911 after the attack Friday night at his San Anselmo, Calif., home, some 20 miles outside San Francisco. The 63-year-old psychiatrist was rushed into surgery with at least one stab wound and was expected to recover.

Blinder’s 61-year-old ex-wife, Dorothy Braco, was suspected in the assault.

Neighbors told ABC affiliate K-GO they heard Binder and Braco arguing earlier Friday, and saw Braco leave the house with blood on her hands.

Braco’s body washed ashore Sunday on Esplanade Beach near Pacifica, about 15 miles south of San Francisco. Her black 1994 Volkswagen Jetta was found near the Golden Gate Bridge on Saturday.

While San Anselmo Police have been exploring the possibility that Braco committed suicide, there were no reports of a jumper. An autopsy to determine the cause of death is pending.

‘Twinkie Defense’ in 1979 TrialBlinder is best known for his testimony during the 1979 trial of San Francisco Supervisor Dan White, who gunned down San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk in 1978.

Blinder testified that a junk food diet of Twinkies and Coca-Cola contributed to White’s erratic behavior, and White was convicted of manslaughter rather than murder, partly on the basis of Blinder’s testimony.

Braco and Blinder were married in 1966, and she filed for divorce 10 years later. In 1980, she sought a restraining order to keep Blinder from visiting their two children. She claimed he rented out his home for use in pornographic films, and she took issue with his lifestyle.

ABC Affiliate K-GO in San Francisco and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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