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Mohammed Laghaoui's brother says he regrets not seeking mental help for suspect

Posted at 1:40 PM, Mar 29, 2017

LEBANON, Ohio -- Lau Laghaoui told jurors Wednesday he regrets not taking his brother, Mohammed, to a hospital to get mental help before June 9, 2016.

Mohammed Laghaoui is accused of shooting Warren County Deputy Katie Barnes that night after a family dispute.

He'd been arguing with his brother and their father about eating the father's hummus, prosecutors said.

Lau Laghaoui called 911 for help, bringing deputies to their apartment at the Orchards of Landen for the first time that evening. Jurors heard his phone call in court Wednesday.

Lau Laghaoui called for help again about an hour later, saying Mohammed threatened to kill him and his father.

That was cause for alarm, Lau Laghaoui said.

"My brother would never, ever say that," he told the jury. "He's very humble and very kind. I'll tell you that right now. If you were friends with him or got to know him, you would know what I’m talking about. Everybody at my school loved my brother. He was more popular than I was. Everybody loved him."

Mohammed Laghaoui's attorney, Nadeem Quraishi, has argued his client actually was saying those things to the people he was playing a video game with online.

Mohammed Laghaoui left the apartment and returned after 10 p.m. armed with a rifle, deputies said. Sheriff Larry Sims initially described it as an AK 47; in court, prosecutors said it was an RAS 47.

Laghaoui's father and brother wouldn't let him in, so he shot through the door, striking his father in the hand. Sims previously said he then fired several times at Barnes from the top of the outdoor stairs; in court Tuesday, Assistant Prosecutor Travis Vieux said he shot at her from a parking lot area.

One bullet struck her gun belt and grazed her lower abdomen.

Barnes testified Tuesday that she was shaken and wondered if she might die.

 

Speaking publicly about the shooting for the first time, Barnes had trouble getting through parts of her testimony. She teared up and said she would never forget the sound of the bullets.

"I had no feeling. I fell backward. I didn't know. I just knew it was gunfire," she said.

Mohammed Laghaoui faces 10 counts, the most serious of which is attempted aggravated murder. He has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.

In opening statements, Quraishi laid out a case that he had been acting strangely for months -- not eating or sleeping enough and was using a drug known as Spice.

"He had been telling his mom and his brother looking in the mirror, 'Do you see the snake? Pull it out,'" Quraishi said.

A psychologist testified in September that Laghaoui exhibited bizarre behavior and wasn't fit to stand trial, but a judge ruled otherwise.

Prosecutors say they plan to call 20 witnesses and present 200 pieces of evidence during the trial.

Judge Timothy Tepe told jurors not to talk about the case.