Yesterday in court the defense called their surrebuttal witness Dr. Robert Geffner to the stand to challenge the diagnosis of state expert witness Dr. Janeen DeMarte. DeMarte spent 12 hours interviewing Jodi Arias, studied the collateral evidence and reports before doing her own psychological tests on the 32 year old murder defendant. Through her battery of tests, she told jurors that she believed Arias had borderline personality disorder - not PTSD as the defense experts believed. Her testimony was clear-cut and easy to understand, and most importantly it was backed up by specific examples of patterns of behavior displayed by Arias. Speaking of Jodi Arias, perhaps her attorneys suggested that she try to feign interest in the proceedings? For the last several days, she has appeared somewhat disconnected to what's happening around her - she appears almost bored. I noticed yesterday she looked up at the screen more and seemed to be paying a little more attention to the testimony.
Dr. Geffner challenged the tests that DeMarte used to diagnose Arias, telling the jury that they were not appropriate for use in diagnosing borderline personality disorder. Much of the day was spent describing his experience and credentials. OK, he has 35 years in the business. But how well does he know Jodi Arias? Turns out he has never met her, rather - he was called by the defense and asked to review her findings in the days after DeMarte testified. He believes Arias' tests reveal more of an anxiety disorder, and agreed with the diagnosis of PTSD. I guess KILLING somebody would cause quite a bit of anxiety.
Jennifer Willmott did her best to get this witness to convince the jury that DeMarte's testing was flawed in some way and cannot be trusted. She then made the mistake of delving into the area of the testimony of medical examiner Kevin Horn. Dr. Geffner may have a PhD, but he is not a medical doctor. Did Willmott make a mistake in trying to have a shrink challenge a medical examiner's opinion on the effects of a gunshot wound to the head? I think she did. I also believe the jurors are getting frustrated with the repetitive nature of the expert witness testimony, all of which hinges on the honesty or dishonesty of Jodi Arias. Willmott elicited some interesting testimony about the potential effects of the gunshot wound to Travis Alexander's face.
Geffner, who has never performed or even attended one single autopsy told the jury that based on his interpretation of Dr. Horn's autopsy report - he believes it's quite possible that Travis Alexander was not incapacitated after being shot in the head. This is crucial for Jodi Arias, because if the jury doesn't believe Travis had the ability to attack Jodi and threaten to kill her AFTER being shot, as Arias has testified - they likely won't believe any of her story about what happened during the killing. As expected, Willmott used as much of the court time as possible during her direct examination of the witness, leaving Martinez with as little time as possible to discredit Dr. Geffner.
When Juan Martinez began his cross examination, he wasted no time in tearing into Geffner's past testimony in other states - bringing to light the fact that a trial judge in Tennessee said he was "nothing more than a hired gun" and "his testimony had no merit" after he testified in a trial there. Martinez asked him about Hawaii vs. French, another trial Geffner testified in where his testimony was actually excluded. The jury also discovered that Dr. Geffner is the editor of one of Alyce LaViolette's publications, need I say more? Juan Martinez was aggressive and challenged Geffner at every opportunity. Dr. Geffner appeared nervous as Martinez grilled him, so much that he spilled water twice during questioning, and there were some awkward pauses as he cleaned up the mess. Martinez asked him how many autopsies he had performed, "none" Geffner said. "How many autopsies have you witnessed"? Martinez asked, "none" Geffner responded. Dr. Geffner may have knowledge of how the brain functions, but clearly he lacked the expertise to be speaking as an expert - I'm not sure why Judge Stephens even allowed them to go into this area.
I only viewed the trial up to the point where Willmott began to redirect Dr. Robert Geffner, so I'm not sure how this all ended or if Juan Martinez ever got to introduce his surrebuttal witness, Dr. Jill Hayes. I do know this much, the testimony has concluded and judgement day is coming for Jodi Ann Arias. Did she manage to sway one or more jurors into believing her stories of emotional and physical abuse? Do the jurors believe her depiction of the events leading up to the killing of Travis Alexander? Does her story make sense to them? Has the defense managed to put Arias in front of them for long enough to humanize her and garner some sympathy? We will soon find out, as the jury is expected to get the case for deliberation as early as Friday. Since there is no security at the Superior Court where deliberations will be held, they are not expected to deliberate over the weekend.
This is it folks. The final days, the closing arguments. I hope Juan Martinez got a good night's sleep and delivers his best closing argument ever. I'd expect nothing less from him. He is the voice for Travis Alexander, and he wants justice. Have a great day!
(Some of you have asked about getting notifications when the verdict comes down. I found a source for text alerts for Jodi Arias news, I HAVE NOT TESTED it yet! You may want to test it to see if you get news before the weekend, from cbs5az.com:
Text BREAKING to 23765:
Thank you to NancyB for posting a comment from Tanisha Sorenson from the Justice4Travis Facebook page. Her message can be seen on one of NancyB's comments from yesterday's post.