- Associated Press - Thursday, June 4, 2015

PITTSBURGH (AP) - A jury that saw surveillance video of a homeless man stabbing a 16-year-old girl and several others at a Target store began deliberating his fate on attempted homicide and other charges.

Leon Walls’ defense attorney acknowledges the 44-year-old homeless man carried out the March 25, 2013, attack but contends he is mentally ill, was hearing voices and isn’t legally responsible.

Allegheny County prosecutors played the video at trial Wednesday, mostly in hopes of convincing the jury that Walls had time to consider his actions and made rational decisions inside the Pittsburgh store.

The jury began deliberating Thursday.

Walls grabbed the girl by the hair and dragged her away from her family before stabbing her in the torso and arm. Walls then used her as a shield as others tried to stop him, cutting several of them in the process. The girl has recovered.

Public defender Andrew Capone said Walls was under paranoid delusions that he was in danger and was trying to defend himself from imagined threats. He based that argument on testimony of defense psychiatrist Dr. Abhishek Jain.

Jain testified Wednesday that Walls doesn’t remember the encounter.

Walls walked into the store to buy bug spray and came to his senses in a pool of blood, Jain said. The psychiatrist testified Walls used the girl as a shield “in some self-protective manger based on a delusion from mental illness.”

Because Capone is using an insanity defense, the jury has four options on each charge: not guilty, not guilty by reason of insanity, guilty but mentally ill or guilty.

In Pennsylvania, a person can be found not guilty by reason of insanity if the jury believes he didn’t understand right from wrong due to mental illness. If a person is found guilty but mentally ill, he can be forced to serve any sentence imposed in a mental hospital or similar facility instead of a prison.

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