Prosecutors and defense attorneys in the trial of Radee Labeeb Prince crossed swords over dueling expert testimony Monday as the last witness was called and the evidentiary phase of the trial ended.
Prince, 40, is charged with three counts of first-degree murder, two counts of attempted first-degree murder and two attendant gun charges in connection to a 2017 shooting at his former place of work, Advanced Granite Solutions, that left three dead and two wounded.
The defense called its star witness, forensic psychiatrist David Williamson, Friday, but lengthy cross-examination meant his testimony finished on Monday with assistant state’s attorney Timothy Doory grilling him on his determination that Prince suffered from major depression with psychotic features, post-traumatic stress disorder and a brain injury that leads to rash decision making.
Williamson interviewed Prince on three occasions and compiled his report on the defendant’s psychology with notes from those conversations, other evidence in the case and opinions from other specialists. Doory noted that those other specialists diagnosed Prince with anti-social personality disorder — marked by some of the same symptoms as major depression like irritability — which cannot be the basis for a legal defense.
Doory also noted that Williamson did not consider some of the evidence in making a determination, like the note the prosecution said Prince left before setting off on the shooting. Still, Williamson said the reaction that Prince had on the day of the shooting would be consistent with someone suffering from the mental issues he concluded Prince does.
Doory questioned if Prince was really suffering from those conditions, noting that the weekend before the shooting he went to Washington, D.C., with his friends and watched a football game. Williamson said that it was not unusual for sufferers of major depression to go on outings with friends.
“Most people with major depression still participate in social activities,” he said.
Williamson also said Prince’s case of depression is an irregular one. While depression is most commonly thought of as melancholy or listlessness, Prince’s is channeled into anger, Williamson said, explaining how he could go to work and maintain his personal hygiene — two common casualties of major depression.
“Some of the individuals have a depressive picture that is more angry and agitated,” he said. “Certainly there are depressed people who go to work.”
After Williamson’s testimony finished, the prosecution called its own expert, forensic psychiatrist Travis Klein of Clifton T. Perkins Hospital Center, who evaluated Prince as part of a court order examination.
Klein, after considering the evidence and speaking with Prince and his girlfriend, LaKendra Harris, diagnosed the defendant with antisocial personality disorder and PTSD. Antisocial personality disorder often manifests as an inability to maintain relationships, duplicitousness and anger. The disorder does not result from a head injury or other sources the defense mentioned as possibilities.
“It is not something that happens to Mr. Prince — it is who Mr. Prince is,” Klein said.
Klein, during his interview with Prince, said they had to stop several times so Prince could “collect himself.”
“He was someone who had a bad temper and has blamed others his entire life,” Klein said. “His bad temper was evident at court last week.”
Having examined Prince’s employment records and speaking to the man, Klein said Prince was fired from three prior jobs for acting aggressively and threatening other workers. Prince was particularly angered, Klein testified, by workers who spoke foreign languages, and referred to Hispanic workers at Advanced Granite Solutions as illegal immigrants. He said there was “no evidence at all” that Prince had a severe brain injury.
On cross-examination, defense attorney Mary Pizzo noted that Klein had only spoken to Prince and Harris, drawing the rest of his conclusions from reports written by police or other psychiatrists. Pizzo noted that antisocial personality disorder and major depression have overlapping symptoms, but Klein said hallmarks of major depression are episodes of depression so strong it impairs functioning. Prince never endorsed symptoms like those, he said.
As questioning of Klein was winding down —and in a nod to Williamson, who was paid by the defense for his time — asked Klein if he was being paid to testify for the prosecution.