We all know that traumatic brain injuries can change your life forever – but could a childhood fall accident turn you into a murderer?
Currently, a North Carolina man is on trail for murder, and a medical expert for the defense has argued that the man’s behavior was not his fault, but the result of a serious brain injury the man suffered as a child.
According to the Asheville Citizen-Times, 37-year-old Edwardo Wong II was stopped by North Carolina Highway Patrol Trooper David Shaw Blanton Junior on I-40 outside of Canton in June 2008. Wong shot the 24-year-old state police officer for unknown reasons before fleeing the scene on foot with the officer’s gun. He was caught and arrested a short time later. Wong, who has a long history of convictions for violent crimes such as armed robbery, is now facing first-degree murder charges and the death penalty.
During the trial, neuropsychologist Shawn Acheson testified that Wong’s actions were related to a five-story fall from an apartment building that Wong suffered as a toddler. Acheson said that a traumatic brain injury left Wong with poor impulse control, difficulty understanding circumstances, and poor foresight. The medical expert also said that Wong reported feeling afraid directly before the shooting took place, an emotion that might point to emotional and behavioral issues often present in those who have survived head injuries.
Prosecutors answered by pointing out that an MRI showed no lasting brain damage, but Acheson explained that many traumatic brain injuries can take place without doing visible physical damage to the head or brain.