Testimony on Horacek's reports also indicated moments when Mallo appeared to show genuine remorse for the crime. On one evaluation, Mallo said that he "prayed for God to tell [Phares], 'I'm sorry for what I did,'" Horacek said.
He followed that by saying, "I'm really upset with the way it messed up my life," Horacek said.
The psychologist also testified that Mallo's statements indicate more that he felt sorry for the crime for his own sake and did not tend to exhibit genuine sympathy toward Phares or her family. Mallo's low cognitive function and his inability to form attachments outside his family or peer groups at the youth facility all point to signs that his behavior will not improve, Horacek said.
Progress reports attached to Mallo's Kanawha County court file note that he has maintained low but passing grades during his time at the youth facility and has shown some promise in group-therapy sessions.
Kanawha County Chief Public Defender George Castelle said the squalid conditions and physical and emotional abuse Mallo suffered as a child directly affected his psyche and ultimately became a factor that caused him to attack Phares. Castelle asked the judge to consider imposing a sentence lower than the maximum 40-year, second-degree murder sentence and allow Mallo to stay in the juvenile prison until he is 21.
Phares daughter, Karen Morris, placed a picture of her mother next to the podium as she addressed the judge shortly before Mallo's sentence was handed down Friday.
"Thomas Mallo does not deserve to walk the streets again," she said. "He will be a violent menace to society."
Mallo stood to give a brief statement, looking over his shoulder at Phares' family members as he spoke.
"I just want Ms. Phares' family to know that I'm really sorry for what I've done," he said.
Reach Zac Taylor at zachary.tay...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5189.