FARGO – Six hospital visits in three days.
That's how many times Christopher Hampton showed up at various doctors' offices in Fargo in late June 2014, agitated, jabbering and carrying a Gatorade bottle he told them his cousin had poisoned with acid.
A parade of doctors took the stand Wednesday in the murder case against Hampton, who's charged with shooting his cousin and roommate Randall Doehner to death at their north Fargo apartment the evening of June 26, 2014, a shooting Hampton argues was self-defense.
Doctors, doubting the poisoning theory, urged him to seek psychiatric care for what appeared to be paranoia, possibly exacerbated by marijuana and amphetamines they'd found in his system instead of the poison Hampton insisted was there.
Defense attorney Nick Thornton questioned one of the physicians, asking if it was possible Hampton could have been poisoned by someone giving him amphetamines, which Hampton had taken in the past but denied taking at that time.
Whatever the cause of Hampton's odd behavior, he refused to take his medication for bipolar disorder, Sanford Health's Dr. Curtis Nyhus testified.
"He said he wouldn't take his psych meds, he said people poison me with that stuff," Nyhus said.
At 2 a.m. the morning of the shooting, even Hampton called himself "delusional" to Fargo police officer Adam O'Brien.
The patrolman had been called to the emergency room, where Hampton told him he'd recently thought he was talking to his son before he realized he'd been chatting with a clothes rack.
"At first he told me he was being poisoned with expensive jellyfish ... he said it had been going on since Monday," O'Brien testified.
Hampton also begged him to take the guns out of the home he shared with Doehner, telling the officer his cousin was a convicted felon.
O'Brien declined to seize the guns or involuntarily commit Hampton and didn't write a report that morning, he told jurors.
He'd concluded there was no criminal activity afoot and, like doctors, believed Hampton when he said he had no desire to harm himself or others.
He found himself writing that report the following evening, O'Brien testified, after having stood outside the scene of the fatal shooting at the men's shared home a few blocks north of the emergency room.
The prosecution's case is set to resume Thursday.