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Trial begins for Mohammed Laghaoui, man accused of shooting Deputy Katie Barnes, his dad last June

Defense hopes to prove insanity
Posted at 6:19 PM, Mar 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-28 18:37:48-04

LEBANON, Ohio – The attorney for the man accused of shooting a Warren County deputy last year is going to try to convince the jury that he’s not guilty by reason of insanity.

The trial of Mohammed Laghaoui opened Monday with jury selection, and many of the defense’s questions focused on synthetic marijuana, known as K2 or Spice. They also asked how prospective jury members feel about gun ownership.

Prosecutors say Laghaoui shot his father in the hand last June 9 after an argument over eating hummus during fasting for Ramadan. They say he turned his AK-47 on Deputy Katie Barnes as she was responding to the family's call for help.

A psychologist testified in September that Laghaoui exhibited bizarre behavior and wasn't fit to stand trial, but Warren County Judge Michael Gilb ruled otherwise.

In December, authorities released cruiser camera footage from the deputy-involved shooting.

Following the argument, Laghaoui's brother called 911 and said he was afraid his brother would try to kill him. Laghaoui left his family's apartment in the Orchards of Landen after punching one family member in the face, authorities said. 

Barnes arrived on the scene shortly after. Laghaoui returned to the apartment after 10 p.m. armed with an AK-47, deputies said.

Laghaoui's father and brother wouldn't let him in, so he shot through the door, striking his father, officials said. Then he fired several times at Barnes; one bullet struck her gun belt and grazed her lower abdomen. 

In the cruiser camera video, Barnes shouts: "I've been hit" after a round of gunshots.  

RELATED: Stray bullet went into child's bedroom, neighbor says

Barnes, a former professional soccer player, had never used her gun in the line of duty before that night. She fired four shots at Laghaoui and radioed for help as she retreated to cover. 

Laghaoui fled while Barnes called for help. A seven-hour manhunt ensued. Residents of the area were ordered to shelter in place until 5 the next morning.

When Laghaoui returned to the apartment at the Orchards of Landen complex, deputies were waiting for him. After he surrendered, he told them he had thrown his AK-47 into a nearby lake. The weapon has not been recovered.

Judge Timothy Tepe is hearing the trial and told jurors not to talk about the case.