VISTA — Several doctors testified in a Vista courtroom the week of March 5 that the man who was found guilty of firing a gun at kids at Kelly Elementary School in Carlsbad on Oct. 8, 2010, has a severe mental illness including delusions, as the sanity phase of the trial continues.Brendan Liam O’Rourke could be sent to a state mental hospital if the jury finds he did not know the difference between right and wrong at the time of the attempted murders.
Otherwise, if the prosecution can prove he is just a man full of rage and anger, and did know what he was doing at the time of the horrendous act that wounded two young girls who suffered bullet wounds in each of their arms, then he faces up to 103 years in prison.
“He believed he was being tortured and had to do what he did to stop the torture,” said psychiatrist Jaga Nath Glassman, who was hired by the court as an independent specialist to evaluate O’Rourke’s mental state.
He said that the defendant thought that his former employer, an insurance company, A.I.G., was collaborating with Illinois (where O’Rourke once lived) politicians in torturing him.
“He believed they were trying to force him to kill himself — murder by suicide, if you will,” he said.
Glassman said O’Rourke also believed that the University of Phoenix had a satellite that followed him, and also that covert signals were sent to him that called him gay.
Glassman said that O’Rourke is wrapped in his delusional thinking and he believes that O’Rourke believed he was coerced to commit terrorist attacks — specifically to “kill white Christian children.”
In the months leading up to the school shooting, he had sent numerous letters by email to his brother.
One of those read, according to Glassman, “ I want to destroy lives while getting paid by A.I.G. Life is all about greed, cocaine, torture and corruption. Once I do what the political weathermen want me to do, they’ll pay me well.”
He also packed all of his belongings and sent them to his brother.
He had received an eviction notice to be out of his Oceanside apartment by Oct. 13, 2010, and Glassman said the eviction was due to O’Rourke’s psychotic behavior, but O’Rourke believed it was because he was being watched.
“I believe he was not capable of distinguishing right from wrong,” he said.
On March 12 jurors listened to a recorded interview with O’Rourke after his arrest, where he repeatedly said “life’s about torture and corruption.”
His voice was not feeble or unsure, but strong and steady.
It was revealed earlier in the trial that O’Rourke was a bright individual.
Jurors silently read along with a script as they listened to O’Rourke’s interview when he described that what he set out to do at Kelly school was (necessary) to try and get away from A.I.G.
“They told me to use a propane tank and to make sure you put gasoline over the tank — at least over the valve — light it on fire and let the heat build up. They said the best way to do it is put it under the school bus — make sure you send a message,” O’Rourke said on the tape.
But there was no bus, said prosecutor Summer Stephan as she spoke to a San Diego County forensic psychiatrist on March 9.
“He initially was going to place a propane tank under the bus and blow up the bus, but there was no bus,” she said.
David Naimark, the forensic psychiatrist, shared in court a conversation he previously had with O’Rourke.
Naimark also believes O’Rourke is insane.
“He told me ‘A.I.G. wanted me to set an example nobody would protest.’ He said he wanted to shoot at a propane tank and not at kids, (and) that he didn’t want to kill kids but if ‘A.I.G. and the satellite were off my back it’d be worth it,’” Naimark said.