- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 29, 2007

GEORGETOWN, Del. — A man charged in a two-state shooting rampage that left two dead and four wounded in April 2005 thought his victims were aliens trying to abduct his 5-year-old daughter, a defense attorney said yesterday.

Attorney Brendan O’Neill told jurors that Allison Lamont Norman was in the middle of a psychotic episode when, armed with a 9 mm handgun and wearing a bulletproof vest, he shot three persons in Laurel, Del., one fatally, before stealing a car and driving to Salisbury, Md., where he shot three more persons, killing one and leaving another paralyzed.

“He thought there were aliens everywhere,” said Mr. O’Neill, who told jurors in his opening statement that they should find Mr. Norman, 25, not guilty by reason of insanity.

The state is seeking the death penalty against Mr. Norman for the slaying of Jamell Weston, 24, at the Carvel Gardens apartment complex on April 7, 2005.

Mr. Norman also is charged with two counts of attempted murder, vehicle theft, and three counts each of possession of a deadly weapon and wearing body armor during the commission of a felony.

Citing differences in the way the two states handle insanity plea cases, a prosecutor in Maryland, where Mr. Norman was accused of killing DaVondale M. “Pete” Peters, 28, dropped more than 100 charges against him last year so the Delaware case could go forward.

Delaware prosecutor Peggy Marshall told jurors yesterday that the state does not have to prove that the shooting of Mr. Weston was premeditated, only that it was intentional.

One of the first prosecution witnesses was 7-year-old Donesha Sturgis, who was with Mr. Norman at the time of the shooting.

After asking the first-grader to draw pictures of her family in an apparent effort to make her feel at ease, prosecutor Adam Gelof began questioning her about what happened as she and Mr. Norman were walking to the school bus stop at Carvel Gardens.

“He shoot people,” said Donesha, who described the bulletproof vest that Mr. Norman was wearing as his “badge,” which she had seen him wear at other times.

Under cross-examination by defense attorney Stephanie Tsantes, Donesha said that the night before the shootings, Mr. Norman had corralled her and her sisters in a corner of their apartment while her little brother was left alone in a hallway screaming.

“He was scared and he was crying and all the lights were off,” Donesha said of her brother, adding that Mr. Norman also pulled her sister’s hair.

Mr. O’Neill said Mr. Norman thought that the screams of the children helped keep the aliens at bay, and would pinch them to keep them yelling.

“He tore down the curtains in the kids’ bedrooms so he could see the aliens at night,” said Mr. O’Neill, adding that before the shootings, Mr. Norman, a victim of sexual abuse as a child, had seen an episode of the science-fiction TV series the “X-Files” in which children were molested.

Mr. O’Neill said Mr. Norman’s mental health appeared to decline steadily after he was hospitalized in 2004 after being shot outside a convenience store, reaching the point where he consumed his bodily wastes while jailed in 2005 in an effort to “prove his worthiness” to get his family back.

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