High school bombing suspect Alexander Youshock takes the stand, testifies 

Hillsdale High School bombing suspect Alexander Youshock said he never thought twice about carrying out his plan to kill three of his former teachers at the school.

Youshock, 18, testified in his own defense Monday afternoon in San Mateo County Superior Court, where he is charged with two counts of attempted murder and other charges stemming from the attack at Hillsdale High School on the morning of Aug. 24, 2009.

"I never had any second thoughts about it," Youshock said, recalling his state of mind in the months before he went to the school with 10 homemade pipe bombs, a chainsaw, and a 10-inch knife.

"I saw it as something that had to be done," he said.

The defense has argued that Youshock has schizophrenia, which prevents him from being able to discern fantasy from reality.

Two psychiatrists who testified earlier today both reached the conclusion that Youshock likely suffers from schizophrenia.

Psychiatrist Jeffrey Gould, who was appointed by the court to examine the defendant, testified that he gathered information for his diagnosis by reviewing the journals and self-filmed videos retrieved from the defendant's bedroom by San Mateo police detectives, and through interviews with Youshock and members of his family.

The defendant showed distinct paranoid tendencies, even taking note of the model and color of cars passing by outside his house because he was convinced he was being watched, Gould said.

Youshock was also suicidal, telling several doctors he wanted to use his jail clothes to strangle himself, or jump from an upper tier of the detention facility where he was in custody.

Gould testified that a note was retrieved from Youshock's cell in September 2009 in which the defendant wrote delusional slogans, such as "be the higher power," "death be upon us" and "kill mankind."

Paranoia, suicidal ideations and delusions are common symptoms of a form of schizophrenia, Gould said.

Youshock was eventually prescribed the antipsychotic drug Abilify, commonly used to treat schizophrenia symptoms. The defendant said he liked the medication because it seemed to quell the symptoms of his illness, Gould said.

"He said he did not want to go back to what was going on in his mind," Gould said. "He was very happy to be taking it."

In her cross-examination, Chief Deputy District Attorney Karen Guidotti suggested that Youshock's paranoia could have been a byproduct of planning to murder at least one of his former teachers and fear of getting caught.

Guidotti also suggested that the defendant's apparent "internal preoccupation," which Youshock's family said worsened before the attack, could have been because Youshock was simply preoccupied with carrying out his secret plans, which included testing and manufacturing an array of pipe bombs and modifying a guitar case to conceal and carry a chainsaw.

Amanda Gregory, a neuro-psychiatrist contracted by defense attorney Jonathan McDougall to give expert testimony, conducted more than 20 psychic examinations of Youshock between September 2009 and January 2011.

Throughout her examinations, Gregory said, Youshock displayed "several markers of psychotic thinking." She eventually diagnosed the defendant with paranoid schizophrenia.

The prosecution has argued that Youshock was sane enough to premeditate and attempt to execute his assault on Hillsdale High School.

He has been charged with two counts of attempted murder, two counts of exploding a destructive device with the intent to commit murder, one count of possession of a destructive device in a public place, one count of use of explosives in an act of terrorism, and two counts of possession of a deadly weapon.

If he is found guilty of any of the charges against him, a second trial will begin before the same judge and jury to determine his sanity.

About The Author

Bay City News

Pin It
Favorite

More by Bay City News

Latest in Bay Area

Thursday, Aug 27, 2015

Videos

Most Popular Stories

© 2015 The San Francisco Examiner

Website powered by Foundation