It was a gruesome and horrific crime. Now 11Alive is trying to understand what went through the mind of a now-convicted killer.
Jeffrey Hazelwood's lawyer said he was off his medications and hallucinating the night he killed two teens behind a Roswell grocery store. Did he know what he was doing? And could he even tell right from wrong? 11Alive spoke with a clinical psychologist to try to get inside Hazelwood's mind.
Hazelwood showed no emotion Wednesday in court as he was sentenced to life without parole after pleading guilty but mentally ill.
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"The benefit of that is that he will likely get some of the help that he needs,” Dr. Erik Fisher said.
Fisher is a clinical psychologist not affiliated with this case.
Hazelwood’s lawyer said his client has shown great remorse now that he is on medication and can comprehend what he did one night in August 2016. That’s when he killed Natalie Henderson and Carter Davis.
“His ability, if he has psychotic issues, to really be able to be aware of what's the real world and what's manufactured through his psychotic thoughts, beliefs, behaviors and hallucinations - that there's a question in his ability to accurately judge reality from fantasy,” Fisher said.
Hazelwood's lawyer said he tried writing an apology letter to the families. He wanted to tell them he wasn't a monster. But he couldn't get through the letter without crying. Natalie's father said it was a relief for this case to end.
“Their lives had, and will continue to have, great meaning for all of us,” Tad Henderson said holding back tears.
A psychiatrist who examined Hazelwood said he suffered from five mental illnesses that resulted in hallucinations, suicidal thoughts and anxiety. He's battled mental illness since he was a child.
"It's the combination of those diagnoses and it sounds like the severity of some of those issues that really make this a complex case and difficult to really find solutions for,” Fisher said.
The state psychiatrist who examined him said Hazelwood has shown improvement since he first saw him. Henderson's family said this was the outcome they wanted - a quick case and life without parole.