Mental illness could play a role in capital murder case

Mental illness could play a role in capital murder case

RUSSELL COUNTY, AL (WTVM) - On Friday morning, 19-year-old Travon Harmon faced a Russell County Judge for allegedly killing his sister and grandfather in a Fort Mitchell shooting spree in January that left two dead and one injured.

"Go on lay it down," were allegedly the last words 77-year-old Leroy Harmon said before his grandson, Travon Harmon, shot him in the head.

However, conflicting stories from witness accounts including various versions from Travon himself leave many questions unanswered.

"He gave inconsistent statements that did not make sense logically," said Harmon's defense attorney Jeremy Armstrong.

Friday's court proceeding acted as a preliminary hearing on the capital murder charges Harmon now faces.

"Obviously you're dealing with the potential penalty of death or life in prison," said Armstrong.

Investigators say Harmon called police reporting a murder after he shot his childhood friend Devonte Howard, then grandfather and his older sister Bianca Harmon.

Howard survived the wound to his forehead, but his family members didn't.

WTVM heard Harmon speak for the first time in court, but Harmon only addressed the fact that he wants to use the legal services of his court-appointed defense attorney.

Armstrong asked the court for a psychological evaluation for his client, sighting a possible history of mental illness, and strange inconsistencies in Harmon's stories.

Harmon for example told investigators his grandfather encouraged him to shoot his sister after he had been shot in the head.

Harmon also states his elderly grandmother, who was also present at the time of the shooting, asked to be shot. Investigators say Harmon changed the order in which he says he shot the three victims multiple times.

"During the investigation it was not questioned as to Travon's education, he dropped out of school before he completed the seventh grade," said Armstrong.

Armstrong says a psychological evaluation could take months and that this case could be in limbo for some time. A Russell County judge has ordered the case to continue on to a grand jury.

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