'Hoarders' psychologist testifies at murder trial

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A psychologist who stars on a reality TV show testified at a murder trial that a California man accused of killing an animal control officer had a hoarding disorder and could have reacted violently to anyone trying to take away his many animals.

Robin Zasio, from the A&E show "Hoarders," appeared in court for the defense Tuesday in the trial of Joseph Corey, 67, the Sacramento Bee reported ( Zasio founded the Sacramento-based Compulsive Hoarding Center.

Corey is accused of shooting and killing Roy Marcum, 45, on Nov. 28, 2012, as Marcum arrived at Corey's home in Galt, about 20 miles south of Sacramento.

Marcum was there to remove Corey's multiple dogs and cats amid eviction proceedings.

A sheriff's deputy served Corey with an eviction notice a day earlier. Authorities said Corey had garbage stacked 6 feet high.

Corey is charged with first-degree murder. But his attorney, Jennifer Mouzis, told jurors during her opening statement Corey was so impaired by his mental disorder that he was incapable of planning the killing beforehand, a requirement for a first-degree conviction.

During questioning Tuesday, Mouzis asked Zasio hypothetically how a person facing foreclosure and living with mountains of refuse and multiple dogs and cats in cages strewn with feces would be affected by the likelihood of his animals and prized possessions being taken away.

"It would be absolutely devastating," Zasio replied, adding that it could lead the person to become homicidal or suicidal.

Asked by the prosecutor if she had ever seen another instance of a person killing someone under the threat of animal removal, Zasio said she had not.

Corey was arrested following a 17-hour standoff with police after he shot the officer with a high-powered hunting rifle.

Eviction papers were served on Corey, a former electrician and mechanic, after he failed to make a house payment for three years, authorities said.

Marcum's mother, Charlotte Marcum, testified at trial that she visited Corey in jail and asked him why he killed her son, the Sacramento Bee reported. She said he told her, "I wanted to kill an officer."

Zasio said there are an estimated 4 million hoarders in the country.