﹛﹛Accused STEM School Highlands Ranch shooter Devon Erickson had become such a chronic drug user in the months before the shooting 〞 ingesting cocaine, marijuana and cough syrup nearly daily 〞 that he likely ※couldn＊t think, concentrate or understand§ events around him that day, a toxicologist testified in his murder trial Friday.
﹛﹛Appearing malnourished and more than 50 pounds underweight as a result, Erickson also suffered from long-term sleep deprivation and insomnia that probably impacted his behavior, toxicologist Wanda Guidry testified.
﹛﹛※I believe it created psychiatric symptoms＃ disruption in mood, behavior and thinking,§ Guidry said of the drugs found in Erickson＊s system hours after the shooting. ※He had a very difficult time figuring out or thinking of what he needed to do, what was right or what he wanted to do.§
﹛﹛Guidry was the second of only two witnesses Erickson＊s defense team called before resting its case Friday, leaving jurors to decide his fate on 48 charges connected to the May 7, 2019, incident that left one student dead and eight others injured.
﹛﹛Attorneys for both sides are expected to make their closing arguments Monday, after which the jury will begin its deliberations.
﹛﹛Earlier Friday, Erickson 每 facing life in prison without parole if convicted of first-degree murder 每 told the Douglas County District Court judge presiding over his trial that he would not testify in his own defense.
﹛﹛Guidry, the owner of Rocky Mountain Medical Legal Consultation Inc., held to her opinion despite prosecutors＊ persistent questions about her review of Erickson＊s hospital records and tests after the shooting and the imprecision of her assessment.
﹛﹛※He would have had no way to think logically to figure things out,§ she said.
﹛﹛Prosecutors called 61 witnesses 每 most of them students and teachers who either saw or fled the classroom when Erickson pulled a handgun from a guitar case and fired 每 and offered more than 200 exhibits in an effort to convict the 20-year-old on charges ranging from murder to criminal mischief and attempted theft.
﹛﹛Defense attorneys have not said Erickson wasn＊t responsible for the death of Kendrick Castillo or that he wasn＊t a part of the shooting with already-convicted co-defendant Alec McKinney. What they have said is that Erickson was an unwilling participant who hoped to stop the shooting but was too afraid to warn anyone because McKinney had threatened to harm him.
﹛﹛The other defense witness, University of Colorado Boulder physiology professor Roger Enoka, on Thursday testified that it was highly likely that Erickson unintentionally fired the handgun, killing Castillo, when three students startled him as they rushed him.
﹛﹛In frequently dramatic detail, McKinney previously testified that the plot was actually Erickson＊s, recanting earlier statements that he was solely responsible and had forced Erickson to comply.
﹛﹛McKinney said the two planned to lay the blame on McKinney, who was a 16-year-old sophomore at the time, and Erickson would kill his accomplice to appear the hero after killing all the students in the classroom. Prosecutors pointed out that Erickson magnetically locked the door behind him before he pulled the handgun.
﹛﹛Accused STEM School shooter might have unintentionally shot Kendrick Castillo, CU prof testifies
﹛﹛STEM School shooter testifies that videos, police interviews were ruse to protect co-defendant
﹛﹛STEM School shooter says plans were discussed weeks before attack on classmates
﹛﹛STEM School suspect was ※upbeat,§ ※more positive§ in hours before shooting, friend testifies
﹛﹛STEM School security guard who detained shooting suspect, accidentally shot students testifies
﹛﹛McKinney, now 18, also said he intentionally fired a revolver until it was emptied of the nine bullets it held, then continued to pull the trigger several more times.
﹛﹛The two planned the incident for several weeks, McKinney testified, agreeing to make it all appear McKinney＊s idea 每 a resolve they continued through questioning by police. Videos they filmed of McKinney forcing Erickson to comply with orders to ingest cocaine and break into a gun cabinet in Erickson＊s home were actually a ruse, McKinney said, to make their plan appear real.
﹛﹛McKinney said Erickson earlier had a bucket-list item would be to kill someone and get away with it.
﹛﹛While Erickson was tackled and disarmed by two students 每 Castillo was already on the ground with a fatal wound 每 another student and a teacher were disarming McKinney in the hallway, according to testimony. McKinney somehow got free and retrieved a second handgun from a backpack, then put the gun to his head but didn＊t fire. A school security guard disarmed and handcuffed him for police.
﹛﹛McKinney is serving a life sentence plus 38 years after pleading guilty to first-degree felony murder and more than a dozen other charges. Because he was a juvenile at the time of the shooting, he is by law eligible for parole after 40 years.
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