- (Photo: Reuters/Charlie Leight)
Jodi Arias' trial took a new twist yesterday as a forensic psychologist testified that her research showed that Arias did not suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, but instead suffered from borderline personality disorder. The expert witness for the prosecution turned the previous testimony from psychologists on its head.
Janeen DeMarte took the stand for the prosecution yesterday and testified that she had observed Arias' behavior for 12 hours and administered several tests to determine if Arias suffered from a psychological disorder. What she found directly contradicts the testimony of Dr. Samuels and psychologist Alyce LaViolette.
Arias testified that she did not remember stabbing Travis Alexander on the day that he died, which proved crucial to DeMarte's testimony and skepticism regarding the PTSD diagnosis.
"When people are exposed to traumatic events, most people have an acute memory of what the traumatic event is. But there are times, when there [are] traumatic events, that they lose aspects of what happened. She (Arias) is reporting to have lost a significant amount of time associated with the killing," DeMarte testified.
That set off a line of questioning by prosecutor Juan Martinez, who wanted to know more about the memory loss Arias was suffering and why it led DeMarte to believe she was not suffering from PTSD.
"When people experience a traumatic event, it's not like our day-to-day events that we have. It's hard to remember what we ate for breakfast a week ago or what we wore; that's different with traumatic events. When they occur, they tend to stand out in our mind more, which is part of why we see the development disorders that we see," DeMarte explained.
"But there are times that people can become hyper-vigilant and focused only on aspects of memory loss. The reason I don't believe the case with Ms. Arias [is] because of the way she is reporting the memory loss. [It] is not consistent with what you consistently see," DeMarte concluded.
She went on to show that Arias did not meet three of the four symptoms of PTSD, which include: experiencing a traumatic event, which Arias did; re-experiencing the trauma, avoidance of anything related to the trauma, and increased arousal, which Arias allegedly did not experience, according to DeMarte.
Instead, DeMarte argued that Arias suffered from borderline personality disorder, which is defined by certain traits, including efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment; unstable and intense interpersonal relationships; identity disturbance; suicidal behavior; affective instability; chronic feelings of emptiness, and inappropriate, intense anger.
DeMarte's testimony goes against the testimony of those psychologists called by the defense and could prove crucial to a jury's decision of whether to find Arias guilty of first-degree murder.
Arias' trial continues today, Wednesday, April 17.