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Defense: Defendant Mentally Ill When He Killed 6-Year-Old

A Phoenix man is being charged with the killings of his brother and 6-year-old nephew. His defense attorney explains that before becoming mentally ill and capable of murder, he was an honor student on scholarship at Arizona State University.

Prosecutors argue that C. Licon, 24, wasn’t exhibiting signs of mental illness, instead he was behaving as a calculated killer who shot his brother on Dec. 13, 2010, and the next day, shot his 6-year-nephew.

According to Deputy County Attorney Laura Reckart, the boy was murdered to silence the only witness to A. Jacquez’s murder. Both victims were shut execution-style, in the back of the head.

Reckert said that these are not the actions of an insane man, he says that Licon was aware and doing damage control.

In December of 2010, Licon says that he called 911 after returning to his brother’s apartment on Broadway Road and discovering his brother lying on the couch with a gunshot wound in the back of his head.

The next morning, the little boy was found dead in an alley behind his mother’s home. The boy’s death made homicide investigators take a hard look at Licon as the suspect in both homicides.

In 2011, Licon was charged with kidnapping, burglary, and two counts of first degree murder.

According to Reckart, there is a lot of evidence against the defendant, including cell phone tower logs that place Licon in the area when the victims were shot, and DNA evidence.

Licon’s defense attorney wasn’t focused on disputing his client’s involvement in the crimes, instead he focused on Licon’s mental illness, which he believes can explain the murders.

Licon’s lawyer said that this isn’t about who killed the victims, it’s about why.

Licon’s attorney explained to the jurors that before the killings, Licon was an honor student in high school who received a scholarship to ASU.

After his mom moved to Texas, Licon failed an economics course, which led to the loss of his scholarship. He also wound up losing his job at FedEx, said his defense attorney.

By Thanksgiving, weeks before the murders, Licon’s behavior changed and he became cold and remote. He lost weight, and he began having psychological issues, including mental breakdowns in school, said the defense. Shortly thereafter, Licon shot his brother and nephew, just one day apart.

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