December 20, 2014

Elyria
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29°F
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Psychologist says Gas USA shooter’s circumstances led to life of crime

Vincent Jackson Jr., left, talks with his attorney, J. Anthony Rich, during a video conference with Jackson's grandmother in prison during the sentencing phase at Lorain County Justice Center on Tuesday. STEVE MANHEIM/CHRONICLE

Vincent Jackson Jr., left, talks with his attorney, J. Anthony Rich, during a video conference with Jackson’s grandmother in prison during the sentencing phase at Lorain County Justice Center on Tuesday. CHRONICLE FILE PHOTO

ELYRIA — A forensic psychologist testified Wednesday that admitted killer Vincent Jackson Jr. suffers from a number of mental health ailments created in some cases by circumstances beyond his control that led him down a path of crime.

“There’s no question this youth was at risk for violence and homicidal behavior,” Dr. John Fabian said during the first day of his testimony on behalf of Jackson during Jackson’s sentencing hearing.

Jackson, 33, already has pleaded and been found guilty of aggravated murder and other charges for the June 2008 shooting death of Qiana Walton during a robbery at Gas USA on Middle Avenue in Elyria.

His defense lawyers have sought to portray his “chaotic” childhood as an explanation for his crimes in the hopes of convincing a three-judge panel that it mitigates the circumstances.

Jackson suffers from antisocial disorder with paranoid tendencies, Fabian said, a diagnosis characterized in part by a disregard for the rights of others.

Assistant Lorain County Prosecutor Tony Cillo suggested later in the hearing that Jackson could be faking the symptoms of some of the psychological issues Fabian found during a string of interviews with Jackson and his family.

Fabian testified that Jackson is in the lower range of intellect, having an IQ of about 79, although he admitted that Jackson has demonstrated a higher IQ in some tests.

Those numbers put Jackson in the “borderline intellectually functioning range,” Fabian said.

He said a stroke Jackson suffered in 2012 while in the Lorain County Jail awaiting trial caused more damage to his motor skills than it did to his cognitive abilities.

He also testified that Jackson suffers from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, which helped make him a poor student.

Cillo countered later that Jackson’s father, Vincent Jackson Sr., had tried to provide a more stable home life and had taken an active interest in his son’s education. The elder Jackson testified Tuesday that his son once explained how to freebase cocaine during show-and-tell while in elementary school.

Fabian will return for more additional testimony when the hearing resumes today.

Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or bdicken@chroniclet.com.