WOBURN -- Beset by paranoid fears that his life was in danger, John Odgren armed himself with a carving knife for protection against a threat that did not exist when he went to high school on Jan. 19, 2007, his attorney said today.
"He began to think that something cataclysmic was going to happen to him,'' Shapiro said of Odgren, who was then 16 years old. "He lost touch with the real world. He did not understand what he was doing, and he could not control himself.''
Odgren, who was diagnosed with a mild form of autism known as Asperger's syndome and attention deficit disorder, was then living in "fantasy world'' of violent video games and Stephen King fantasy novels, Shapiro said.But Middlesex Assistant District Attorney Daniel Bennett countered by describing the brutality of the attack on Alenson, whose family left the courtroom before the prosecutor began talking.
"He took a carving knife and drove it through [Alenson's] sternum, through his ribs,'' Bennett said of Odgren. He said Odgren also slashed Alenson's throat.
Bennett sought to refute the defense contention that Odgren was mentally ill on the date of the attack, as well as defense claims that his actions were fueled by video games and horror stories.
The prosecutor quoted comments Odgren made to police after his arrest. " 'If the press says itís the books, it's not that," Odgren told police. " 'If the press says itís the video games, it's not that, either. I donít know what it is.' ''
John Odgren in 2007 (File Photo)
Bennett also described Odgren as a killer with a plan. The prosecutor said that at least two days before he killed Alenson, Odgren made it clear he was preparing a violent, if not murderous, attack on someone at the school. At that time, Odgren informed another student that he decided to let that student live.
" 'I decided not to kill you, ' '' according to Bennett.
But according to Shapiro, Odgren did not realize what he had done to Alenson until he saw the victim lying on the floor, bleeding from the stab wounds.
Shapiro said Odgren knelt next to Alenson and said, " 'Oh my God. What have I done? You are going to be OK.' ''
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