Rampage driver called schizophrenic

Psychologist testifies in Shareef trial

The Fayetteville ObserverMarch 9, 2010 

A psychologist testified Monday that he determined Abdullah El-Amin Shareef was psychotic after meeting with him five times between 2004 and 2009.

"It's what we could callcrazy. Psychotic is crazy," said Dr. Tom Harbin, who has been practicing psychology in Fayetteville for 20 years.

Shareef's capital murdertrial entered its third week today in Cumberland County Superior Court. Harbin continued his testimony as a defense witness from Friday.

Shareef, 31, is accused of stealing two vehicles and running down five people on the morning of April 14, 2004, in Cumberland and Harnett counties. One man, Lonel Bearl Bass of Linden, was killed.

Shareef has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to murder and attempted murder.

Most of Harbin's testimony this morning focused on a series of tests he administered to make an evaluation of Shareef's mental state. Harbin concluded that, in his opinion, Shareef suffered from schizophrenia, which was a contributing factor to his road-rage actions.

The defense is trying to show that mental illness caused Shareef to commit the spree of crimes he allegedly committed six years ago.

The prosecution has tried to present an image of Shareef as a defective character, beset by stress and succumbing to a growing addiction to marijuana and Ecstasy. Ecstasy is an illegal drug with effects similar to those of amphetamines and hallucinogens.

Carl Ivarsson, one of Shareef's lawyers, asked Harbin whether he thought Shareef suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder. An evaluation of Shareef's condition, conducted in the days before the road rampage at a mental health center in Raeford, determined that he suffered from marijuana abuse and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Harbin said the term gets overused. He said, from his assessment, Shareef did not qualify for that disorder because he had not suffered a serious injury, a traumatic rape or served in combat for a long period of time.

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