A Harford County Circuit Court judge on Friday gave defense attorneys for the man accused of killing three people in an October 2017 workplace shooting one more week to supply prosecutors with a psychological report to determine his criminal responsibility after the trio of public defenders blew past multiple deadlines to submit it.
At issue is that prosecutors do not have a psychological report on Radee Labeeb Prince, even though it was commissioned seven months ago, prosecutor H. Scott Lewis said in court Friday.
Prince, 39, of Elkton, is charged with three counts of first-degree murder, two counts of attempted first-degree murder, use of a firearm in a violent crime and illegal possession of a regulated firearm in connection with shooting at Advanced Granite Solutions. Police said Prince had worked at the kitchen countertop company in an Edgewood business park in the months prior to the shooting, which also critically injured two other people.
With approximately a month before trial, and the state’s own experts waiting to analyze the findings of the psych report before then, Lewis said it was “in bad faith” and initially asked the judge to exclude the pending report and its author’s potential testimony from the trial.
“The order of this court was to provide the opportunity for everybody to be prepared and move forward,” Lewis said. “They have no explanation ... why I do not have a report.”
Defense attorney Mary Pizzo explained to the judge that the expert they commissioned to prepare the psychological report was thorough and busy, which considerably slowed the report’s progress — even when told deadlines set by the court.
Pizzo told the judge that, as she walked into court Friday, the doctor emailed her a preliminary opinion, which stated Prince showed “longstanding symptoms of mental illness.”
The expert’s opinion was that Prince exhibited post-traumatic stress disorder-like symptoms, with swinging moods and paranoid delusions. He wrote that Prince believed police and others were going to harm him, she said. Prince threw away his cellphone and began carrying a gun, she said the expert wrote, and posited that Prince could be capable of making “impulsive and rash” decisions.
That opinion is not the completed report, Pizzo said.
The expert, Pizzo said, was integral to the defense’s case. The defense signaled it intended to rely on a not criminally responsible defense — Maryland’s version of an insanity plea — and seek a two-stage trial, like Jarrod Ramos, who killed five people at the Captial-Gazette on June 28, 2018. The first stage of the trial determines guilt on the criminal charges while the second stage assesses a defendant’s criminal responsibility for the actions.
Lewis requested the judge deny the expert completely or let his emailed opinion be the only report allowed in the trial.
To avoid prejudicing the defense by disallowing a key report and testimony, or the prosecution — who need more time than 30 days to review the defense expert’s findings — Judge Yolanda Curtin allowed the defense one more week to submit supplementary information to the short opinion the doctor offered.
“The proposal the state has offered is fair, however I also find it fair to provide the defense a week,” she said.
Curtin also said that, given the number of witnesses and delays the trial has already seen, another postponement is “not a possibility here."
Pizzo disputed the prosecution’s claim that they “ignored” repeated requests for the information.
“All along, we have been providing the state with information,” she said. “We are not ignoring the issue ... it is because we are dealing with someone who is, shall I say, a perfectionist.”
The Oct. 18, 2017, shooting set off a daylong manhunt in Harford County and Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
Prince was arrested in Newark, Delaware, after police said he shot a sixth person, a man he had worked with in the state. He was convicted of attempted manslaughter last May in a Delaware court and sentenced to serve 40 years in prison in that case.