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Expert testifies NJ schoolyard survivor has PTSD

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 23, 2013 at 5:55 pm •  Published: January 23, 2013

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — A rehabilitation counselor testified Wednesday that the survivor of a vicious schoolyard attack that left three friends dead suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder that will reduce future earning ability.

The testimony came during a civil trial stemming from the 2007 murders behind Newark's Mount Vernon School.

Iofemi Hightower, Terrance Aeriel and Dashon Harvey were slain by a group of six men and boys who robbed them and then led them down a flight of stairs where they were each shot in the head. The fourth friend survived being shot and slashed.

The Associated Press isn't naming the survivor because of sexual assault charges against two defendants.

The victims' families have sued the school district for what they say was negligence for leaving the schoolyard unlocked at night when it was a gathering place for gang members.

Rehabilitation counselor Edmond Provder testified Wednesday that the survivor, who has earned a bachelor's degree and wants to be a psychologist, will face reduced earning capability due to the physical and emotional injuries suffered in the attack.

Defense lawyers sought to show that the survivor has improved since earlier evaluations were made and is attending church and other social functions.

All six defendants pleaded guilty or were convicted at trial and are serving sentences ranging from 30 to 245 years in prison.