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Defense focuses on accused killer's mental health

Published On: Mar 13 2014 08:22:19 PM CDT
REDDING, Calif. -

The man prosecutors say slit his aunt's throat with a nine and a half inch knife, then attacked his uncle with the same weapon was in court again Thursday for the final day of witness testimony.

Cody Nash is on trial for the June 2012 murder of his aunt Candace Watson. Nash is also accused of stabbing and slashing his uncle, Bob Watson, so severely - he's now wheelchair-bound.

Thursday, the defense continued to focus on Nash’s mental state at the time of the knife attacks.

Nash’s attorney, Michael Horan, called a psychiatrist to testify about what criteria a person needs to meet to be diagnosed as schizophrenic. Those include having hallucinations and delusions, two disorders the defense worked to show Nash did indeed possess.

“They have this disease. It’s a biological illness, those with schizophrenia have it at birth,” explained the psychiatrist.

He went on to say triggers, such as stress, can make the illness come to the surface. The psychiatrist also pointed out that “one-percent of the population is schizophrenic.”

Shasta County Deputy District Attorney Curtis Woods then focused on disproving the notion that Nash has a psychotic disorder. Woods even brought up the possibility that a person could “fake a mental illness.”

During opening statements last week, Horan told the jury his client was mentally evaluated after the knife attacks. The defense stated that while in jail for his aunt's murder, Nash was diagnosed as having schizophrenia.

Jurors will meet back again in the Shasta County courtroom at 9 a.m. Wednesday morning. At that time, they'll hear final arguments from both sides. Then, the jury will be handed the case.