the killer at thurston high
Dr. Jeffrey L. Hicks's Testimony His testimony for the defense (excerpted below) was given at the sentencing hearing.

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Hicks is a child psychologist who treated Kinkel for six months during 1997. His treatment notes were introduced as evidence.
What was the focus of the referral and the nature of the problem that was expressed when [Kip] came in to see you?

A. The primary concern was a fascination with guns, knives, and explosives, and antisocial acting out.

And was there a particular event or series of events that precipitated the referral that you were aware of?

A. An increase in activity of playing around with explosives. I think there was an incident in Bend, Oregon, of throwing a rock at a car. ...

January 20th of '97.

And what history did you take when you met with him first?

A. A developmental history, mental status exam, interview with his mother, interview with Kip.

How often did you see him thereafter?

A. It was about every three weeks. It varied a bit.

Did he always attend those sessions with his mother?

A. Yes.

Did you meet with her generally during the sessions independent of meeting with Kip, or together with Kip?

A. It happened both ways.

So she was part of the meetings; it was a family counseling kind of event?

A. That's correct.

Did dad participate in these meetings at all?

A. No, he did not.

Was it ever explained to you why?

A. Yes. Kip's mother told me that he wasn't particularly supportive of counseling and didn't think it would be helpful, didn't want to come in.

Was a strained relationship with dad part of the reason that brought him to see you --

A. Yes.

-- that was expressed by mom?

A. Yes.

Tell me what you concluded from the medical history that you took.

A. Well, he had had difficulty learning in school, had difficulty managing anger, some angry acting out, depression. And I did not find evidence of a thought disorder at that time.

Did you do anything in the way of a full psychological evaluation?

A. No. That wasn't my contract. It was to address the specific presenting problems the family brought in.

Your history doesn't mention a mental status exam. Is that something you routinely do on an intake?

A. It is.

And what does that involve?

A. That involves asking a person about their memory, their concentration, attention, screening for hallucinations and delusions.

So how would you screen for hallucinations and delusions?

A. You would ask a person if they were hearing voices when there weren't people there, you would ask them if they feel like they are being plotted against, if they have any unusual powers, that sort of thing.

Did you pose those questions to Kip?

A. I did.

And you never made notes that -- is that something you just routinely do and you recall it in that fashion, or do you have a specific recollection of having asked him those questions?

A. I don't have a specific recollection. Whenever I enter a statement in the chart that there was no evidence of thought disorders or delusional thinking, it means I've asked the specific questions to be able to say that.

After the intake, would the hallucinations and delusions have come up again in your discussions? Would it have been a continuing source of information you would have sought from him? Would you have asked him those questions again?

A. No, not unless I saw evidence in my interviews with Kip of reality testing problems, difficulty with concentration, or seeming that he was easily distractable, something odd, and I didn't see that. ...

Tell me how your treatment of him proceeded.

A. Well, I saw him nine times, and he responded pretty well to counseling, I thought. His -- according to his report and his mother's report, the playing around with explosives, setting off explosive charges stopped. His mood improved. He was more communicative with family members. And according to Kip and his mother, his father was making a stronger effort to be supportive and communicative. ...

Toward the end of your treatment you made an evaluation that perhaps it would be helpful to suggest to his family physician a course of antidepressant medication; is that correct?

A. That's correct.

What led you to that opinion?

A. The continuing irritability, mood problems, feeling tired in the morning, food wasn't tasting good, nothing that he was particularly looking forward to. He met criteria for a major depressive disorder. ... On June 2nd, 1997, I made the recommendation that they consult [the Kinkel family physician] for him to determine whether a trial of antidepressants was indicated.

I next saw him on June 18th, and he had been taking the Prozac, 20 milligrams, for twelve days at that point. He was sleeping better. No temper outbursts, taking the medication as prescribed without side effects.

The last time you saw him was on July 30th of '97?

A. That's correct.

And what did you note on that occasion?

A. He was continuing to do well. No side effects from medication that I observed. Did not appear depressed. Denied depressive symptoms. Faith reported that his moods had been good, quite good, and on a recent trip to San Diego he had related well to other family members.

Did you formulate a plan with the family at that time for continued treatment or consultation?

A. No. At that point Kip and his mother were feeling that he had made sufficient progress that they could manage things at that point, and given that he was no longer appearing depressed, I certainly honored that. He wasn't a mandated client.


Dr. Hicks, you indicated that the mother actually filled out a form when she came in, Mrs. Kinkel did?

A. Yes.

And in her own handwriting, she is asked to briefly describe the presenting problem, why they've come to see you?

A. Mm-hmm.

And she indicates, inappropriate decision-making regarding behavior, extreme interest in guns, knives, and explosives.

A. That's correct.

So that's what the mom says that they're there for?

A. Yes.

When you were talking with Mrs. Kinkel, and in your notes, you indicate that Mrs. Kinkel tells you that her son would often lie to his parents about his interest in explosives and the parents no longer felt that they could leave him at home?

A. That's correct.

Home alone, I should say.

A. Yes.

Did she also tell you in her statement that her son -- describing her son as having a hot temper and sometimes kicking holes in the walls at home?

A. Yes. ...

When Mr. Kip Kinkel comes in on January 20th of 1997, you talk with him one-on-one about what he perceives his problems to be?

A. Yes.

And during that interview you find no -- again, that's where you note no evidence of delusional thinking or other thought disorder symptoms?

A. That's correct. His thinking was clear.

And that he was logical, coherent, and goal directed?

A. In his speech, yes.

How did he describe himself as far as his anger and how he dealt with feeling angry?

A. He described himself as often feeling very angry, and he found some stress relief by setting off -- detonating explosives.

You described that as the way he would vent his anger was to --

A. Yes.

-- set off explosives?

A. Mm-hmm.

How did he tell you he would react when he had a bad day at school? What would he do to make himself feel better?

A. He would often go to a local quarry and detonate explosives, and that would help him feel better.

Did you get some sort of a commitment from him, I guess it would be the following week, with regard to whether or not he would use explosives anymore?

A. I certainly encouraged him not to. I don't recall that he contracted with me not to.

You note on April 4th that, again, apparently he still has an ongoing interest in explosives. Did you talk to him about it at that point?

A. Yeah. Whenever that would come up. I mean, that's a pretty alarming symptom, and whenever it would come up, I would certainly discourage him from doing that. ...

Were you aware that between the time that he had been on Prozac, starting June 1st, and July 9th of 1997, that on June 30th of 1997, his father went out and bought him the Glock?

A. He told me that, yes.

What did he tell you about that?

A. He told me that his father had purchased a handgun for him, after some persistence on his part. And it was kept out of his reach and to be used only under his supervision.

Did you have any concerns at that point, given his behaviors and his interest in explosives and firearms and just starting on a regimen of Prozac, as to the appropriateness of his parents' purchasing a Glock?

A. No one consulted me about that decision. Yes, I have concerns about that.

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