Phillip Andrews had “severe” CTE at time of killings

Phillip Andrews had

Former NFL player Phillip Adams had “unusually severe” chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, when he fatally gunned down six people before taking his own life in April, researchers said Tuesday.

Adams, 32, was suffering from stage two of the condition, which may have contributed to his “behavioral abnormalities,” said Boston University’s Dr. Ann McKee, who conducted the examination on the former football player’s brain tissue.

CTE has four stages, with stage four being the most severe and typically associated with dementia.

“Mr. Adams’ CTE pathology was different than the other young NFL players with CTE” whose brains have been examined post-mortem, McKee said in a news conference. “It was different in that it was unusually severe in both frontal lobes.”

Adah and Noah Lesslie with parents Katie and Jeff
Phllip Adams killed Adah and Noah Lesslie, aged 9 and 5 respectively.

McKee said stage two CTE is linked to aggression, impulsivity, depression, paranoia and anxiety, as well as poor executive function, which can affect problem-solving, time management and organization.

She compared Adams’ brain scans to those of former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez, who also suffered from the condition and died by suicide in 2017 while serving a life sentence for murder.

“We have seen this behavior,” McKee said. “We have even seen homicidal behavior in individuals diagnosed with CTE. It is difficult to say that it alone resulted in these behaviors because usually, it’s a complicated issue with many other factors.”

Adams fatally shot Dr. Robert Lesslie, 70; his wife Barbara Lesslie, 69, and two of their grandchildren, Adah, 9, and Noah, 5, in Rock Hill, SC, police said. 

Aaron Hernandez
Dr. Ann McKee compared Phillip Adams’ brain scans to those of ex-New England Patriot Aaron Hernandez, who also suffered from the condition and killed himself in 2017 while serving a life sentence for murder.
Robert Lesslie and his wife Barbara
Phillip Adams killed Dr. Robert and Barbara Lesslie along with their grandchildren. Robert Lesilie may have denied Phillip Andrews medication before he was killed.

The doctor lived near Adams’ parents and may have treated the former player and possibly refused him additional medication before the slayings, reports have said.

Adams also killed two air-conditioning technicians — James Lewis, 38, and Robert Shook, 38 — who had been working on the Lesslie home at the time of the attack, cops said.

Police later found Adams dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Phillip Adams
Phillip Adams also killed air conditioning repairmen James Lewis and Robert Shook. Dr. Ann Mckee says that years of playing in the NFL gave rise to his condition.

His family agreed to have his brain tested for CTE, which can only be diagnosed through an autopsy.

Mckee said the years Adams spent playing football “definitely … gave rise” to the disease.

The condition has been found in a number of former football players, with one recent study showing signs of the disease in 110 of 111 NFL players examined.

Adams played in 78 NFL games for six teams over six seasons, including the New York Jets and the San Francisco 49ers.

Phillip Adams’ family said that he had gone to the NFL for help with his condition but was denied, and that they believe football is responsible for his condition and horrific actions.

After the shootings, his father, Alonzo Adams, said, “I think the football messed him up.”

The Adams family said in a statement Tuesday that they were not surprised that he had suffered from the condition but were shocked to learn how severe it was.

“After going through medical records from his football career, we do know that he was desperately seeking help from the NFL but was denied all claims due to his inability to remember things and to handle seemingly simple tasks, such as traveling hours away to see doctors and going through extensive evaluations,” their statement said.

Dr Robert Lesslie and granddaughter Adah
Dr. Robert Lesslie with his granddaughter Adah, who were tragically killed by Phillip Adams. Dr. Ann McKee of Boston University said that CTE can lead to homicidal behavior.

With Post wires

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