High Court Upholds First-Degree Murder Conviction in School Bathroom Stabbing

Attorneys for John Odgren argued before the SJC that their client was not responsible at the time of the 2007 killing because of a "confluence of mental illnesses"

The highest court in Massachusetts has upheld the first-degree murder conviction of a man who was 16 when he fatally stabbed another teenager in the bathroom of their high school.

John Odgren was convicted in 2010 of the 2007 killing of 15-year-old James Alenson at Lincoln-Sudbury High School.

Odgren's attorneys argued at trial that their client was not responsible at the time because of a "confluence of mental illnesses" including Asperger's syndrome and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Odgren in his appeal to the Supreme Judicial Court made similar arguments and said the trial judge erred in her instructions to the jury.

The court in its decision Wednesday wrote the jury was made sufficiently aware of the impact Odgren's diagnoses "might have had on his ability to form the requisite intent to kill."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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