Source: Rick Halperin

Convicted multiple murderer Paul Dennis Reid is more concerned about getting a softer pillow for his bed than preparing for his trial on charges of murdering and robbing three people at a McDonald’s restaurant, a psychologist testified yesterday.

Reid’s lawyers presented testimony from several witnesses who said that Reid refuses to focus on the upcoming trial, which he views as a “Hollywood production” that is certain to result in 3 more murder convictions and 3 more death sentences.

The defendant would rather talk about his favorite television shows, like Frosty the Snowman, and his efforts to expand his vocabulary, than the evidence that prosecutors are likely to present against him at his trial next month, the witnesses said.

Reid, who has already received 4 death sentences for murdering 4 people in robberies at fast-food locations in Nashville and Clarksville, now views his court-appointed lawyers as active participants in a “conspiracy to do him in,” psychologist Pamela Auble testified.

Reid’s attorneys have asked Criminal Court Judge Cheryl Blackburn to declare him incompetent to go to trial April 10 on charges that he murdered 3 people while robbing a McDonald’s restaurant in Hermitage in March 1997.

The lawyers are making that request against the wishes of Reid, 41, who does not want to make an issue of his mental condition.

“Hearing about his mental illness hurts him,” Auble testified.

“He thinks his attorneys will coerce his sisters into saying things that will enrage him” if they are brought here to testify about his childhood in Texas, the psychologist said.

Reid was upset by testimony at one of his earlier trials that he killed his grandmother’s puppy when he was 8 years old, Auble said. He said that was impossible because he was in a home for boys at the time.

The Rev. Joe Ingle, a longtime prison minister, testified yesterday that Reid has “an unreliable, disjointed, fractured sense of reality.”

Reid “has a desperate need to appear normal,” but “he can’t pull it off,” Ingle said.

“You see this strapping man,” the minister said, but Reid “really is in a lot of ways a 12-year-old boy.”

Reid is so “extremely and excessively polite” that some of the guards at Riverbend prison “are concerned that he is a walking time bomb,” Ingle testified.

Two juries have sentenced Reid to death — for murdering 2 employees at a Captain D’s restaurant here and kidnapping and murdering 2 employees of a Baskin-Robbins ice cream store in Clarksville — despite hearing testimony about head injuries and psychological problems he experienced as a child.

Reid insists he is innocent and says at times that the FBI or the CIA has “surveillance tapes” that would prove he did not commit the restaurant murder-robberies, Auble said.

Added: 2004