Brain damage cause of officer's murder?

May 2, 2008 5:04:20 PM PDT
We are getting an inside look at the mind of a man accused of killing a Houston police officer. Testimony on Friday revealed Juan Quintero's brain damage may have caused him to kill Officer Rodney Johnson.

Defense attorneys implied Juan Quintero, 34, was under so much stress after he shot Houston police officer Rodney Johnson, that he may have wanted police to shoot him. That is known as suicide by cop. It is one of several hypothetical situations laid out for the jury by Quintero's legal team.

"This is where the danger is in presenting psychiatric evidence or trying to get more out of your psychiatrist than he's willing to give," said KTRK Legal Analyst Joel Androphy. "You stick with what your psychiatrist can give you."

The jury heard from three witnesses Friday, including Dr. Kris Mohandie. He is a licensed psychologist and a childhood friend of Quintero's, who told the jury how Quintero showed signs of strange behavior when the two joked around as young boys.

As the defense tries to bolster its argument that a brain injury from a childhood accident impacted Quintero's actions the day of the shooting, Officer Johnson's sister says Quintero's state of mind that day is clear to her.

"They can try all they want to but Quintero knows what he did," said Susan Johnson. "He answered that himself. He was in his right mind. Anybody insane would not have any remorse or feeling and he said it in his confession, it was unnecessary, he did not have to do that."

Testimony resumes Monday in the trial. Prosecutors in the case are seeking the death penalty.

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