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Dr. Keith Ablow to examine alleged murderer Edwin Alemany

Psychiatrist said Michelle Obama had weight issue

Edwin Alemany entered a not guilty plea during his arraignment on first degree murder charges at Suffolk Superior Court on Dec. 11, 2013.

Pool photo

Edwin Alemany entered a not guilty plea during his arraignment on first degree murder charges at Suffolk Superior Court on Dec. 11, 2013.

Dr. Keith Ablow, the forensic psychiatrist who stirred up controversy when he criticized Michelle Obama’s weight on television, has been chosen by defense lawyers to determine whether Edwin Alemany was insane when he allegedly kidnapped and murdered a South Boston woman in July 2013.

Alemany, whose family has said he has a long history of mental illness, allegedly was on a violent spree, attacking three women over 24 hours in South Boston. His most violent attack was allegedly the abduction and murder of 24-year-old Amy Lord.

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Alemany allegedly assaulted Lord when she left her Dorchester Street apartment on July 23, 2013. He allegedly dragged her back into the vestibule of her building, where he beat her before making her accompany him to five ATMs to withdraw money. She was found later that day stabbed to death in Stony Brook Reservation in Hyde Park.

Family members and friends of Amy Lord departed West Roxbury District Court, where Edwin Alemany was arraigned, Aug. 15, 2013.

Wendy Maeda/Globe Staff

Family members and friends of Amy Lord departed West Roxbury District Court, where Edwin Alemany was arraigned, Aug. 15, 2013.

Alemany has pleaded not guilty to all charges and is being held without bail.

His defense attorney, Jeffrey Denner, said Tuesday that Ablow will interview Alemany and generate a diagnosis that will be part of the defense effort to convince a judge or a jury to conclude that he was so mentally ill when Lord was killed that he cannot be found guilty of first-degree murder, which carries a sentence of life in prison without parole.

Denner hopes a jury will find instead that Alemany was not guilty by reason of insanity, which could lead to his eventual release.

“I think he [Ablow] is one of the finest forensic psychiatrists I’ve ever come across,’’ Denner said in an interview. “We feel lucky to have him on this team.’’

Denner said he and Ablow were equally concerned that many people, while imprisoned, are put on psychiatric medications but when they are released, they lose access to medical care and drugs.

“They are no longer medicated and react accordingly,’’ Denner said.

Ablow has previously assisted Denner in his unsuccessful defense of Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter, the con man who claimed to be Clark Rockefeller and was convicted in Boston of kidnapping his daughter and is now serving a life sentence in California for murdering a man there in the 1980s.

Ablow has an office in Newburyport and is a commentator and essayist for the Fox Network on health issues. Earlier this month, he appeared on the Fox show “Outnumbered” as the sole man appearing with four women.

During the show, he said he believed that Michelle Obama had a weight issue and questioned whether she should be leading the drive for healthier diets for children.

“Let’s be honest. There’s no french fries happening? That’s all kale and carrots? I don’t buy it. Just saying,” Ablow said in the video. “She needs to drop a few.’’

After returning to the show Thursday, he acknowledged that he should probably lose weight himself, but said he was registering opposition to “draconian’’ government standards that have made school lunches “inedible.’’

Related coverage:

Alemany’s lawyer plans insanity defense

Amy Lord remembered as role model, friend

Alemany pleads not guilty

Edwin Alemany socialized after murder, prosecutor says

Video: Alemany indicted for murder of Amy Lord

Three officers disciplined in case preceeding Amy Lord death

The long spiral down of Edwin Alemany

John R. Ellement can be reached at ellement@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @JREbosglobe.
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