Convicted cop killer Quentin Smith has ‘broken brain,’ expert testifies

Quentin Smith Trial

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The sentencing phase in the trial of convicted cop killer Quentin Smith continues Tuesday.  

If you’re on the NBC4 app, you can watch the sentencing hearing live here, and find past videos from the trial: Quentin Smith Trial

A forensic psychologist testified Tuesday that he believes convicted cop killer Quentin Smith has a “broken brain.”

Dr. John Fabian, who interviewed and evaluated Smith for the defense, said Smith suffers from post traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder.

“He just doesn’t emote,” Fabian said. “He’s like flat as a stone and that’s really based in depression in my opinion.”

Smith was convicted last week of killing Westerville police officers Anthony Morelli and Eric Joering. The jury is now hearing evidence about Smiths background and mental health in preparation of deciding whether to recommend the death penalty.

Fabian testified Smith has a love-hate relationship with his mother which has repeated itself with his relationships with other women in his life.

Smith’s wife, Candace made a 9-1-1 hangup call after being punched and choked by Smith on February 10, 2018. Smith shot and killed the two officer when they responded to the call.

Fabian testified that Smith’s mental illness, childhood with alcoholic and absentee stepfather, abusive mother and other factors contribute to his behavior as an adult.

“He’s made poor choices, no question,” Fabian said. “And when the officers walk in the door that night – that gets very complicated as well. But all of these other factors that I don’t think he had choices over placed him at risk to be in that situation and to make poor choices.”

“Sometimes the line between suicide and homicide is narrow,” Fabian told the jury. “He’s been very suicidal and suicidal multiple times and there seem to be the same psycho-social stressors – problems with jobs, problems with finance, out-of-control relationships, mental health issues, addiction, instability where he’s living, it’s all he’s known.”

The jury found Smith guilty Friday of the February 2018 aggravated murders of Officers Anthony Morelli and Eric Joering. 

Linda Morelli fought back tears as she described the impact of her husband’s murder. 

“My kids have lost their father, and I have lost my husband because of the events that happened on February 10, 2018,” she said. “Our lives have changed dramatically since then.” 

This is believed to be the first time in Ohio that victim impact statements were allowed in the sentencing phase of a death penalty case. Prior to the passage of a victim rights law in 2018 known as Marcy’s Law, only the defense was permitted to present evidence of mitigating factors in death penalty cases. 

Jami Joering described how difficult the loss of her husband has been on their three young daughters. 

“The girls, to this day, will call his cell phone to hear his voice on the voicemail because that’s the only thing that brings them comfort,” Joering said. “They will text him to wish him happy birthday or simply tell them about their day. They so badly want him back home – to tuck them in at night or to watch movies together as a family. How do you fix that?” 

Defense attorneys said they will present witnesses and evidence that Quentin Smith suffers from a variety of mental illnesses and had a difficult childhood. 

The jury returned its verdicts after just three and a half hours of deliberation. They found Smith guilty of two counts of aggravated murder, two counts of murder and one count of domestic violence. Smith was also guilty of two specifications that make him eligible for the death penalty: the purposeful killing of a police officer and purposeful killing of two or more people. 

The sentencing phase is expected to last several days. 

The sentencing phase of the trial will continue Tuesday; watch live on and download the NBC4 app to receive alerts.   

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