SEATTLE - The defense called doctors to testify about Aaron Ybarra’s slow development as a child but it was the accused shooter’s mother on Thursday who spoke in great detail about her son’s lifelong struggle to fit in.
“We knew he was obsessive compulsive,” Janice Ybarra said.
Ybarra says her son was developmentally delayed and his strange repetitive behaviors started as a young child.
“He tapped on his lip,” Janice Ybarra said.
Ybarra says her son would take multiple showers a day and do backward spins before getting in the car.
She says her son would also hoard unopened packages of CDs, and had a strong attachment to some of his belongings, including his cologne and bed.
Despite her efforts to help her son, Aaron Ybarra never finished high school and struggled to find a full time job
“It was heartbreaking to see that attempt,” Janice Ybarra said.
Janice Ybarra said that at one point, Aaron Ybarra would drink every day and begin to shake.
Other family members couldn’t help.
Janice Ybarra said her husband was an alcoholic jailed for multiple DUI’s and her younger son at the time was addicted to heroin.
“Several years it went in the other direction,” she said.
They sought the help of a psychiatrist, but the mom says she was never aware of the hallucinations and the voices the defense claims drove her son to kill.
During cross examination, the prosecution pressed the mom to recall her son’s condition right before the shooting. Janice Ybarra said she did not see anything out of the ordinary, or anything pressing enough that she thought a therapist was needed again.
The prosecution said Ybarra did not have a psychotic episode and knew right from wrong when he killed student Paul Lee. He also injured students Sarah Williams and Thomas Fowler Jr. The prosecution says Ybarra was fueled by hate and felt powerful when he randomly targeted SPU.
Aaron Ybarra is expected to take the stand in his own defense on Monday.