Man accused of shooting deputy knew what he was doing, experts testify

Man knew he shouldn't shoot deputy, experts say
Posted at 5:06 PM, Apr 04, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-05 07:44:25-04

LEBANON, Ohio -- The case of a man accused of shooting a Warren County deputy last year is now in the hands of a jury.

The attorneys on the case presented their closing arguments Tuesday after presenting testimony about the accused shooter's mental state. The prosecutors tried to make the case that Mohammed Laghaoui's actions show he knew exactly what he was doing when, according to authorities, he shot Deputy Katie Barnes June 9. But the defense argued otherwise.

Laghaoui is facing 10 charges, including attempted aggravated murder.

"He fled, he hid, he concealed evidence," Travis Vieux, assistant prosecuting attorney, said. "He was logical. He was organized and he was goal-directed.

The two sides went back and forth with mental health experts on Laghaoui's state of mind. Forensic psycholigist Dr. Thomas Martin said Laghaoui told him: "I knew it would be wrong. I was always brought up by my family to know it was wrong to kill somebody else."

Defense attorney Nadeem Quraishi has argued that Laghaoui is not guilty by reason of insanity. He has said Laghaoui didn't know what he was doing.

"You can sift through the 230 pieces of evidence," Quraishi said. "But the truth is, Mohammed is mentally ill."

Martin agreed that Laghaoui was mentally ill.

"At the time of the alleged offenses, Mr. Laghaoui was suffering from a mental disease," Martin said.

But, Martin said that Laghaoui's actions, like defending himself, showed he understood that he shouldn't have fired the gun.

"There was nothing about his account that suggested he did not know the wrongfulness of his actions," Martin said.

Earlier in the day, a forensic pathologist also testified that she believes theyre's no evidence to support that Laghaoui has a mental disease. But Dr. Jennifer O'Donnell also said Laghaoui's actions that night show he understood what was going on.

"He knew they had called police," O'Donnell said. "He knew he was about to be arrested and he was very concerned about that. The series of events are very logical."

O'Donnell said Laghaoui had been firing away from people, trying to scare them.

"It's all logical, goal-directed behavior," she said.

That testimony came the day after the defense put their own expert psychologist on the stand who said Laghaoui was suffereing from several severe mental illnesses.

"He did not know what it was doing to him, in my opinion. It was far worse than he thought," Dr. Douglas Reed said Monday.

The defense also pointed to a report from last year, in which O'Donnell said Laghaoui was not competent to stand trial and that he was suffering from severe mental illness. A judge later ruled Laghaoui was competent to stand trial.

Laghaoui had been using synthetic marijuana, known as K2 or Spice, and didn't realize what it contained, according to Reed. The drugs affected Laghaoui's response, he said.

Deputies were called to the family's apartment twice the night of the shooting. Laghaoui's brother called for help both times.

When Laghaoui returned home with a rifle after an argument, his father and brother wouldn't let him in. Laghaoui shot through the door, striking his father in the hand, according to authorities. When Barnes arrived, Laghaoui shot her, the prosecutors said.

The jury adjourned Tuesday night without a verdict; they were expected to continue deliberating Wednesday morning.