Defendant called insane while kids were beheaded

BROWNSVILLE — John Allen Rubio exhibits symptoms of paranoid schizophrenia and by legal definition was insane when he killed his three small children in March, a psychiatrist testified Wednesday.

“Furthermore, it is my opinion that he has suffered from this condition for most of his life,” said Dr. William Mark Valverde, who has visited with Rubio over the past six months.

Valverde’s testimony in Rubio’s capital murder trial came as his attorneys began building their insanity defense.

Rubio and Angela Camacho, both 23, are charged with suffocating, stabbing and decapitating their three small children in March.

The bodies of Julissa Quezada, 3; John Stephan Rubio, 1; and Mary Jane Rubio, 2 months were found by police in the couple’s small apartment. Rubio and Camacho are being tried separately.

In a written and video confession presented earlier in the trial, Rubio told police a strange tale. He said that he and Camacho killed the children because they had become possessed by demons.

Rubio told police of seeing mice scurrying around, lots of cats outside his window and other signs that his apartment building had become overtaken by evil spirits.

Valverde said the way the killings were carried out was consistent with Rubio’s assertion that he suffered “a moment of insanity.”

For example, he chose to decapitate the children because he remembered a movie in which the only way to remove a spirit was to sever the head and separate it from the body, he said.

Chief Felony Prosecutor E. Paxton Warner blasted the insanity argument.

He said Rubio used the story as an excuse for a crime he had planned, knew was wrong and tried to hide evidence of.

Since his arrest March 11, Rubio has been placed on anti-psychotic mediation and an anti-depressant, Valverde said.

In his opening statement Wednesday, defense attorney Nat Perez told jurors the evidence would show Rubio’s upbringing — surrounded by alcohol and drug abuse — coupled with his own penchant for inhaling spray paint, laid the foundation for insanity.

Unlike a criminal trying to deny something, Rubio didn’t run from police and cooperated with investigators, Perez said.

Rubio grew up believing his mother and grandmother practiced witchcraft, and that he had been chosen by God to eliminate evil from the world.

“If anything has stuck out with me over the ump-teen interviews with Mr. Rubio, it is that he still holds out that someone will believe his story,” Valverde said.

“His acts are consistent with someone who thinks people will find his story credible.”

During cross-examination, Warner pressed Valverde on various details Rubio told the psychiatrist, but not police.

In September, Rubio told Valverde he believed the apocalypse was coming.

He didn’t mention this to police in March.

This, Warner said, was an example of padding the insanity claim now that Rubio “has had time to think about what he was going to tell (Valverde).”

Today, jurors are expected to take a tour of the apartment where the killings occurred, just two blocks from the courthouse.

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