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Psychologist says killer Elliott Kirkland can 'think and reason'

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    Elliot Kirkland appears in Judge Jim Miraldi's courtroom for the penalty phase of his trial. Kirkland shot and killed Jimmie Holland in a 2016 robbery.

    KRISTIN BAUER / CHRONICLE

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    Elliot Kirkland appears in Judge James Miraldi’s courtroom for the penalty phase of his trial Friday morning.

    KRISTIN BAUER / CHRONICLE

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    Elliot Kirkland smiles as a witness testifies about his good breakfast-making abilities. Kirkland appeared in Judge Jim Miraldi's courtroom for the penalty phase of his trial on Friday morning, February 1.

    KRISTIN BAUER / CHRONICLE

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ELYRIA — Elliott Kirkland shows the characteristics of being affected with antisocial personality disorder and of being a psychopath, but he has the ability to reason and know what he’s doing, a psychologist testified Friday.

Kirkland, 29, of Lorain, was convicted of aggravated murder in connection with the 2016 shooting death of Jimmie Holland Jr. Friday marked the second day of the penalty phase of Kirkland’s capital murder trial in which the jury will decide whether the defendant should be sentenced to death.

Bob Stinson, a psychologist who testified for the prosecution in the case, said he reviewed nearly 7,500 pages of documents — including interviews with family and friends, records from school, courts, prisons, medical professionals, police and more — before his testimony in court on Kirkland.

“He doesn’t have neuro-psychological damage. There’s no indication of brain damage,” Stinson said. “He has the ability to think and reason consistent with his age and educational history. His cognition and thinking is intact. It’s not impaired.”

Stinson said he believes Kirkland lied about being sexually abused as a child, justifies his criminal activities in his mind, blames others for his actions, lacks remorse and lives a parasitic lifestyle in which he uses women to supply his “needs” and for money before he moves on to another one.

While he wouldn’t go as far as to diagnose Kirkland as a psychopath, Stinson said he shows the characteristics of being one, in the psychologist’s opinion.

Earlier in the day, Kirkland’s defense attorneys brought in more witnesses to speak on behalf of the defendant.

Chiffon Barnette, who has two children with Kirkland, testified that the defendant was a good father and was “really good with kids.” She also said Kirkland was a good cook and called him a “good breakfast cooker,” to which Kirkland smiled and laughed.

Upon cross-examination, though, Barnette admitted that Kirkland had only been around for the first few months of his son’s life before he was sentenced to prison. When he got out, he didn’t spend much time with his child, but instead was “running the streets and dealing drugs.”

Cassandra Jones, who grew up next door to Kirkland and his family, said the defendant grew up without much supervision at all in the King Kennedy projects in Cleveland. Jones said living there was tough for everyone.

“It’s a lot of peer pressure, a lot of fighting. Most people end up going to jail,” Jones said. “I’m not a fighter, but I had to fight every single day down there because I wasn’t one of those kids that were part of the ‘in crowd.’ If you stood out in any kind of way, they would pick on you. Fighting is a must.”

Closing arguments in the penalty phase of the trial are scheduled to take place Monday morning. After that, the jury will begin deliberating on Kirkland’s fate.

Contact Scott Mahoney at (440) 329-7146 or smahoney@chroniclet.com. Follow him on Twitter @SMahoneyCT.


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