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Summary:

Paragraphs 10 & 11 read:  "On Tuesday, Dr. Alison Fife, a psychiatrist and expert witness for the prosecution, was cross-examined by defense attorney Jonathan Shapiro, who tried to show that the prosecution is asking the jury to ignore warning signs that Odgren's mood and behavior had changed in the weeks before Alenson's death."

"The defense said changes in Odgren's clothing habits, as well as changes in his sleep and speech patterns, may have indicated a problem with his medication that could have lead to a manic, paranoid state."

Paragraph three reads:  "The defense has never denied that Odgren killed Alenson, but said his mental illness made him legally insane at the time of the slaying, and he cannot be held criminally responsible. Odgren has Asperger's syndrome, a form of autism, as well as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, depression and anxiety."



http://www.thebostonchannel.com/news/23278327/detail.html




Insane Or Cold-Blooded? Odgren's Fate Rests With Jury



Odgren Stabbed Alenson In School Bathroom

POSTED: 12:19 pm EDT April 27, 2010
UPDATED: 6:18 pm EDT April 27, 2010
Boston
 
A jury is now working to decide whether a former Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School student's mental illness drove him to stab a classmate to death in a school bathroom or if he is a calculated killer after testimony wrapped up in John Odgren's murder trial on Tuesday.

Odgren, of Princeton, was 16 when he stabbed freshman James Alenson, 15, with a large kitchen knife in a boy's bathroom at Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School on Jan. 19, 2007.

The defense has never denied that Odgren killed Alenson, but said his mental illness made him legally insane at the time of the slaying, and he cannot be held criminally responsible. Odgren has Asperger's syndrome, a form of autism, as well as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, depression and anxiety.

"When John Odgren was no longer capable of coping with the fear, anxiety and paranoia that had built up within him, he exploded in senseless and unplanned violence," defense attorney Jonathan Shapiro said.

But prosecutors painted a different picture of the now-19-year-old, saying Odgren was a smart, lucid teen who harbored a dangerous obsession with violent video games and Stephen King books. They say the stabbing was premeditated.

"This is what he chose to leave the house with," prosecutor Daniel Bennett said, holding up the large kitchen knife, still stained with Alenson's dried blood, used in the stabbing. "He had a plan; he brought the knife (to school); he made decision to get himself to that bathroom. He hunted out different places. And no matter what the defense says, you don't take a knife like this instead of a butter knife or a table knife or a steak knife unless you are intending to stab somebody with it. And this is the choice he made for a weapon."

In its closing, the prosecution played jailhouse recordings of Odgren seeming to poke fun at investigators.

"It's so funny. They were searching for all that crap. Like, you know, I had the teddy bear next to the shotgun. I did that as a joke and they took it all seriously. They are not the brightest of people I've found," Odgren said in a phone call made about a month after the stabbing.

Before closing arguments, jurors heard discussion about whether signs of Odgren's mental health were ignored.

On Tuesday, Dr. Alison Fife, a psychiatrist and expert witness for the prosecution, was cross-examined by defense attorney Jonathan Shapiro, who tried to show that the prosecution is asking the jury to ignore warning signs that Odgren's mood and behavior had changed in the weeks before Alenson's death.

The defense said changes in Odgren's clothing habits, as well as changes in his sleep and speech patterns, may have indicated a problem with his medication that could have lead to a manic, paranoid state.

"Bringing the knife might be a reversion to past behaviors when he was fearful or anxious?" Shapiro asked.

"My answer is that it could be related to other things, or it could be related to anxiety," Fife said.

The jury started deliberating the case late Tuesday afternoon.

If the jury returns a not guilty verdict, Odgren could be sent to a secure mental health facility.

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