Psychologist testifies for defense during sentencing phase of convicted child killer’s trial

Horn took an 11-year-old girl’s cellphone under premise of putting ringtones on it, prosecutors say
Published: Jul. 5, 2023 at 9:48 PM CDT
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MANSFIELD, La. (KSLA) — Testimony is scheduled to resume Thursday morning in the sentencing phase of convicted child killer Brian Horn’s trial underway in DeSoto Parish.

Lawyers are to report to the DeSoto Parish Courthouse in Mansfield at 9 a.m. followed by jurors at 9:30 a.m.

Horn’s mother and a couple of people in the medical field are expected to testify for the defense.

Horn, 47, again has been convicted of killing 12-year-old Justin Bloxom. The child’s body was found in late March 2010 in a wooded field off U.S. Highway 171 in DeSoto Parish.

Prosecutors have said that Horn used text messages to pose as a girl and lure Justin to his taxi.

During questioning Wednesday, they revealed that Horn at some point took an 11-year-old girl’s cellphone under the premise of putting ringtones on it.

Prosecutors also said there’s zero evidence that Horn was mentally incapacitated, intoxicated or impaired at the time Bloxom was slain.

Bloxom’s mother, two brothers, a grandfather, an aunt and a cousin all testified for prosecutors Wednesday morning. Dustin, Bloxom’s best friend whose house he was at before going missing, also took the stand.

They recalled how they called police because Dustin and a brother thought Bloxom might have gone home and left his overnight bag at the house. They thought his mother might have picked him up, but she hadn’t.

Bloxom’s mother remembered being very proud he had packed his toothbrush in his overnight bag.

They all found out what happened by meeting at Dustin’s house.

They all said they remembered seeing Grandpa pull up to Dustin’s house after he had been taken to the scene. He stayed in car and cried. Nobody had ever seen him cry before, so they knew something was wrong.

Bloxom’s mother went lifeless when she found out; Dustin said he’d never forget that look.

Wednesday afternoon’s proceedings consisted of defense attorneys calling on a clinical psychologist from Tennessee to testify about brain development and the impact that being abandoned and/or neglected has on development of a child’s brain.

The psychologist never has interviewed Horn; nor has she ever gotten a brain scan of Horn. The doctor said she based her observations about Horn on police and court records and the fact that he scored very high on the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) study.

The study found a direct link between childhood trauma and adult onset of chronic disease, incarceration and employment challenges, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Prosecutors challenged the credibility of both the records and the study.