updated 1/22/2011 4:15:46 PM ET 2011-01-22T21:15:46

Attorneys for a man charged with having killed four people in eastern Pennsylvania last summer while on parole for a murder conviction say they may seek an insanity defense at trial or as a reason to argue against the death penalty if he is convicted.

Authorities allege that 37-year-old Michael Eric Ballard repeatedly stabbed his former girlfriend, her father, her grandfather and a neighbor on June 26 in Northampton County. He was on parole from a conviction in a 1991 murder in Allentown.

Ballard's lawyers said in a legal filing Friday that their client may have a cognitive disorder, although more tests are needed. They also want his statements to investigators and his conviction barred from the trial and a jury chosen from another county.

Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli says he does not think an insanity defense will be used.

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