March 12, 2010

Doctor: Okie killed to stop evil group


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Staff photo by Andy Molloy ON TRIAL: John Okie is led to Kennebec County Superior Court Monday during the second week of his trial for two slayings. Okie is accused of killing a former high school classmate, Alexandra "Aleigh" Mills, at her family's Wayne home on July 10, 2007, and of killing his father, John S. Okie, at the family's Newcastle home on July 16, 2007.

Staff Writer

AUGUSTA — A psychiatrist testified Monday that John A. Okie killed a former girlfriend because he believed she was part of an evil group trying to take over his mind.

''He believed he was actually doing the world a favor by killing her,'' Dr. Carlyle Voss testified Monday, the fourth day of testimony in a double-murder trial in Kennebec County Superior Court.

Okie is charged in the deaths of Alexandra ''Aleigh'' Mills, a former classmate at Kents Hill School, on July 10, 2007; and his father, John S. Okie, on July 16, 2007.

Voss testified that Okie also came to believe that his father had joined the evil group, so he also had to die.

Okie's defense attorney, Peter DeTroy, began presenting evidence Monday in a bid to show that his client was mentally ill and incapable of understanding what he was doing.

Voss told jurors Okie had an initial diagnosis of schizophrenia, paranoid type, as early as 2004; and that he continued to suffer symptoms even as Voss interviewed him in jail in October.

Voss said that at one point in 2004, Okie told doctors that he believed he was being raped by two girls and a nurse at a private school he attended in Massachusetts. Later, he barricaded himself in his room in his family's Newcastle home and called Lincoln County sheriff's deputies to report that his mother was raping him and injecting heroin into the soles of his feet to try to kill him.

Okie had inpatient and outpatient psychiatric treatment and was prescribed Abilify, although he would go months without taking it, Voss said.

Okie also believed that water was tainted with cocaine and that Mills was pregnant, Voss said. Okie told him he repeatedly struck the 19-year-old in the abdomen when he killed her because he was trying to destroy a fetus, Voss said.

Mills was not pregnant.

Sitting at a table in court Monday, Okie appeared unmoved by the testimony. He looked at a monitor as it displayed medical notes about his various hospitalizations and frequently reached for a water pitcher. At one point, he closed his eyes and seemed to be asleep.

On Monday morning, Rylan Okie, John Okie's sister, cried on the witness stand as she said her brother changed drastically beginning in 2004.

Rylan Okie, 24, who lives in Boston, testified that he was a happy child through grade school, but his personality changed during high school.

''He was convinced he had to do cocaine so he wouldn't get cancer,'' she said.

Prosecutors last week called friends of Okie and his family to testify that, while Okie was smoking marijuana and drinking alcohol, he was not exhibiting signs of hallucinations or hearing voices.

Rylan Okie said that her brother visited her at her Boston apartment several days after the Mills killing, and that she was upset with him and asked him to leave because he had been smoking pot and drinking on the way down.

''He pushed me hard enough so I fell into the wall and fell down,'' she said. ''The biggest thing that scared me was his reaction. There was a delay of 30 seconds until he realized what he had done. He helped me up and he apologized.''

One of the prosecutors, Assistant Attorney General Lisa Marchese, asked Rylan Okie why she didn't provide this information to detectives who interviewed her a month after the senior Okie was killed.

Rylan Okie said she had been traumatized by her father's death.

The trial is scheduled to continue at 9 a.m. today.

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