Expert defends Arias diagnosis of PTSD, amnesia

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 25, 2013 at 7:32 pm •  Published: March 25, 2013
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PHOENIX (AP) — The prosecutor in Jodi Arias' murder trial pounded on a table Monday as he attacked the credibility of a psychologist who diagnosed her with post-traumatic stress disorder and amnesia, appearing to mock the expert witness who feverishly defended his work.

Arias faces a possible death sentence if convicted of first-degree murder in the June 2008 killing of Travis Alexander in his suburban Phoenix home. Authorities say she planned the attack on her lover in a jealous rage. Arias initially told authorities she had nothing to do with it then blamed it on masked intruders. Two years after her arrest, she said it was self-defense.

Psychologist Richard Samuels, a defense witness, testified previously that his diagnosis of PTSD and amnesia explains why Arias can't recall many details from the day she killed Alexander as the defense works to convince jurors she may have lied repeatedly before, but she isn't lying now.

Prosecutor Juan Martinez has spent several days picking apart Samuels' evaluation techniques, and even accused him of forming a relationship with Arias that biased his diagnosis.

"You have feelings for the defendant!" Martinez yelled.

"I beg your pardon, sir," Samuels responded as defense attorneys objected.

Earlier in the day, Martinez pounded on a table as he questioned Samuels' credibility, appearing to rattle the witness who thumped his own finger loudly on his notes.

Samuels has denied the allegations of bias and missteps that could have skewed his findings. He testified that he based his diagnosis of Arias on multiple interviews with her, reviews of crime scene photos and police reports, as well as the tests he performed on her.

Martinez later again questioned how Samuels could have come to any definitive diagnosis based on Arias' lies. When Samuels began evaluating her in jail, Arias was sticking to the intruder story.

Martinez also questioned how Samuels could know whether Arias indeed doesn't recall details from the killing and suffers from amnesia or if she is faking it.

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