- Associated Press - Monday, January 11, 2016

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - A New Mexico teenager who has pleaded guilty to killing his parents and three younger siblings was described Monday as “detached” by a psychiatrist who said the teen’s recent recounting of the shooting rampage three years ago seemed “matter of fact.”

Nehemiah Griego, 18, also shows signs of having a severe mixed-personality disorder, said Dr. Kris Mohandie, who testified on the first day of a hearing set to determine whether the teen should be sentenced as a juvenile or an adult.

An attorney for Griego told the judge that the teen grew up in a chaotic environment and was abused by his father, who had been a pastor at one of Albuquerque’s largest Christian churches. After the January 2013 shooting, a security official said Griego spent much of the day at his church, wandering the campus as dozens of Sunday school teachers were being trained on how to deal with a shooter.

“We’ll see through the evidence that the pattern of living the family was engaged in was very isolating except for when going to church,” Taylor said. “We’ll hear evidence that Nehemiah probably suffered a traumatic injury as a result of his father’s beatings.”

Griego was 15 when authorities say he killed five family members at their home south of Albuquerque. He pleaded guilty in state children’s court in October to two counts of second-degree murder for the deaths of his parents and three counts of child abuse resulting in death for killing his siblings - ages 9, 5 and 2.

In an interview with Mohandie last year, Griego reportedly told the psychiatrist that after he killed his mother, he woke up his little brother to show him she had been shot and allegedly said to the boy, “You’re next.”

“I think I say in my report there was a strong flavor of sadism in that statement. It was terrible,” Mohandie said. “There isn’t any getting around the sense of what that was.”

Defense attorneys argue Griego - who they say was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder after his arrest - can be rehabilitated and has made significant progress at a state psychiatric treatment center for juveniles in the past 18 months.

Investigators, psychology experts and an older sister of Griego are expected to take the stand during the hearing that is scheduled through this week and set to resume in February.

Griego’s sentencing terms could range from probation to three life sentences plus 30 years if he is sentenced as an adult, attorneys have said. If he’s sentenced as a juvenile, he would theoretically remain in the custody of the state Children, Youth and Families Department until he is 21.

Prosecutors did not deliver opening statements, but some family members sent a letter to the judge and the Albuquerque Journal (https://bit.ly/1nbkZQv) in support of sentencing Griego as an adult. They expressed concerns about their own safety and that of the public.

“Nehemiah has not expressed any remorse and … (he) possessed the mental capacity to know right from wrong at the time of the murders and was fully cognizant of his murderous action,” the letter said.

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