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Psychologist: Hit-and-run suspect is dangerous, when left untreated

Posted March 9, 2010

— A psychologist testified Tuesday that a man accused in a 2004 hit-and-run rampage across three counties is dangerous when he is not being treated for schizophrenia.

Abdullah El-Amin Shareef, 31, of Raeford, is charged with murder and four counts of attempted murder. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against him.

“Personally, I would never release him from the hospital,” Dr. George Corvin, a general and forensic psychiatrist in Raleigh, said Tuesday.

Corvin evaluated Shareef at Dorothea Dix Hospital in Raleigh two days after the April 14, 2004 rampage.

Defense rests in Shareef trial

Authorities said Shareef stole a city-owned van in Fayetteville, hit and injured three men in Fayetteville, then ran over Lonel Bass in Linden, killing him. Shareef abandoned the van, took Bass' pickup truck and continued north, authorities said, running down another man in Harnett County before crashing the truck in Fuquay-Varina, where he was arrested.

Shareef has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, and his attorneys said he suffered from untreated paranoid schizophrenia.

On the day of the rampage, Shareef had a psychotic episode triggered by schizophrenia, not drugs, Corvin said. The condition was so severe that Shareef could not understand the criminal nature of his actions, he said.

Despite Corvin's statements, he was clear to the jury that there is no way to know exactly what was going on inside of Shareef's head that day. "I don't know with 100 percent absolute certainty," he said.

Over time, Shareef's mental condition improved with medication, Corvin said.

Prosecutors questioned Corvin about the chance of Shareef being released from a hospital if he was found not guilty by reason of insanity.

Corvin said, considering the violent crime Shareef is accused of and his condition, it would be highly unlikely. "It could occur over a relatively short period of time. But with history as our guide, it's never happened in the history of North Carolina," Corvin said.

Cumberland County Chief District Judge Beth Keever, who presided over Shareef’s first court appearance six years ago, also testified on Tuesday. She described Shareef as “scary” in the courtroom that day.

"His eyes were very unfocused, unblinking," Keever said.

The defense wrapped up its case on Tuesday. Closing arguments are expected to start Wednesday.


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  • 4DukeTillDeath Mar 9, 2010

    He should be locked up in a mental institution for life. Can't risk letting this man back in society and taking a risk of him not taking his meds.

    There are few occasions when I truley believe people who claim insanity, really are. This is one of them. You can look at his mug shot from that day and tell this guy is a genuine psycho. The lady in Texas who just shot her fellow teachers and Andrea Yates are two more that come to mind.

  • ghimmy51 Mar 9, 2010

    This sort of conundrum was handled quite well by Robt. A. Heinlein. If he kills and he's not crazy he should die. If he's crazy and is cured someday to find out he killed ... he would want to die. Either way .. best to execute him and know everybody else is safe. I feel sorry for everyone involved, especially the innocent victims.

  • coffeecup Mar 9, 2010

    So let's treat him ... to about 50 years in prison.