Attorneys at Bourgoin murder trial begin closing arguments

Local News

Steven Bourgoin, accused of killing five teenagers in wrong-way crash on I-89 in October 2016, declined Monday to testify in his own defense as his attorney tried to raise last-minute questions about the conclusions of the state’s expert witness.

Bourgoin has been charged with five counts of second-degree murder in the deaths of Mary Harris, 16, of Moretown; Cyrus Zschau, 16, of Moretown; Liam Hale, 16, of Fayston; Janie Cozzi, 15, of Fayston; and Eli Brookens, 16, of Waterbury.

Testimony in the trial, which is in its 10th day, wrapped up shortly after 2 pm and attorneys were scheduled to begin their closing statements after a short break.

Robert Katims, Bourgoin’s attorney, has argued throughout the trial that his client was delusional and psychotic when he slammed into the teens’ car. 

Last week, Katims called two psychiatrists, both of whom testified that Bourgoin was growing more psychotic in the days before the crash. David Rosmarin said his examination of Bourgoin led to a diagnosis of bipolar disorder.

Reena Kapoor, who was hired by the state to examine Bourgoin, but later became a witness for his defense, said she determined that he suffers from a personality disorder, with traits of borderline and paranoid personality disorders.

On Monday, the 10th day of the trial, Katims questioned the state’s expert, Paul Cotten, a psychiatrist who evaluated Bourgoin and determined he was not legally insane the night of October 8, 2016.

Cotten diagosed Bourgoin with adjustment disorder, a stress-related condition. He said Bourgoin, who was suffering financially and had lost custody of his daughter, was in a great deal of distress and despair in October 2016, but he was not mentally ill.

During a tense cross examination, Katims told jurors that Cotton didn’t request interviews with Bourgoin’s family and friends or examine his medical records, including from his hospital visit the morning of the deadly crash.

And he pushed Cotton on why he didn’t review more materials related to the case or re-examine Bourgoin when he was brought on as the state’s expert in January 2019. 

Cotton said he never reached a definitive conclusion on whether Bourgoin was suicidal or rageful on October 8, 2016, and that he does not have an opinion why Bourgoin drove the wrong way on I-89 and crashed into the teens’ car.

Local 22 & Local 44’s Staci DaSilva is in the courtroom and will have more on this story later today and tonight at 6 pm and 7 pm. 

You can follow the closing arguments on Twitter at @SDaSilvaNews.

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