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MASON CITY, IA – A North Iowa man accused of strangling and killing his girlfriend is back in court today.
Both the prosecution and the defense called their own mental health experts to the stand, but the jury heard two very different interpretations of Aaron Harris’ health issues.
We’re getting an in-depth look into the mind of an accused killer.
And the insights that are being shared, have jurors perched on the edge of their seats, trying to keep up.
Psychologist, Dr. Arthur Konar said, “He certainly suffered from Bipolar II Disorder, but in addition, he also suffered from a significant substance abuse disorder.”
Today, the defense team is using Dr. Konar’s diagnosis to plead diminished responsibility for their client.
Dr. Konar said, “He was really simply operating in a place where he was doing things he wasn’t sure why he was doing them. He was witnessing he was doing it, but he didn’t have enough knowledge base. He did not go into that situation saying I want to hurt this person.”
Harris stared out the window as we heard what exactly that means.
Dr. Konar said, “At that point he was not able to premeditated or form that kind of intent.”
Despite the diagnosis, the prosecution fired back with their own expert.
Psychiatrist, Dr. Michael Taylor said, “Mr. Harris was fully capable of deliberating, premeditation, and forming the specific intent to kill Sarah Winters.”
Dr. Taylor says even Harris admitted to never having a manic episode associated with the disorder.
Dr. Taylor said, “He kinda laughed and said no way had he at any time in his life, did he ever experience anything like that.”
Dr. Taylor also notes there was a pivotal moment Harris could have walked away from the situation that day last summer.
He said, “While he was strangling Miss Winters, he stopped and then when he realized she was still alive, he went back at it.”