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East Ventura County Focus

THOUSAND OAKS : Psychologist Testifies for Defense in Slaying

October 12, 1994|DWAYNE BRAY

A Thousand Oaks teen-ager who fatally shot his girlfriend while playing with a loaded gun "has a quick fuse" and lacks common sense, a defense psychologist testified Tuesday.

But clinical neuropsychologist Harold L. Burke denied that the 17-year-old defendant has a criminal nature and suggested that he did not understand the consequences of pointing a gun at the victim.

The defendant suffers from a severe attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, Burke said. The affliction is marked by poor judgment and inattention, he said.

The boy covers up for his lack of general understanding by being tough, said Burke, the final major witness in the Ventura County juvenile trial. "He has some tendencies to be insensitive. That's part of his hard-boiled facade."

The youth is charged with seven criminal counts, including murder, in the July 12 death of 16-year-old Jacqueline Reay. The defendant was aiming the gun at Reay and squeezing the trigger when a bullet discharged and struck her in the eye, according to court testimony. He said he did not know there was a bullet in the firing chamber.

Superior Court Judge Charles W. Campbell Jr. could issue a verdict today after attorneys' final arguments.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Donald C. Glynn wants the youth convicted of second-degree murder, contending he should have known not to point a loaded gun at the victim.

Defense attorney Victor Furio, however, called Burke to the stand in hopes of convincing the judge that the youth lacked the mental capacity to appreciate the danger of his act.

Burke concluded that the boy "has less common sense and social judgment than 95% of other 17-year-olds."

He also has low self-esteem and covers up for that "by trying to act macho," Burke said.

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