On March 21, 2013, an expert witness for the defense in the Jodi Arias murder trial was asked a multitude of questions by jurors, including several regarding his diagnosis of her having post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and the lies he presumably based his assessment on, reports The Olympian.
Arias, 32, is charged with the brutal 2008 murder of her former lover, Arizona man Travis Alexander, 30. He was stabbed over two dozen times, was shot in the head, and his throat was slashed. She claims she killed him in self-defense, but during the trial Arias has testified she does not remember much about the confrontation the two had that eventually led to his death.
Psychologist Richard Samuels, who said he’s met with Arias in jail on numerous occassions, said in his prior testimony that “A large percentage of individuals who are in such settings do not remember or have cloudy or foggy memories of what has transpired… We are more concerned with survival.” Samuels testified he believes Arias suffers from PTSD and dissociative amnesia.
Arias initially told authorities that intruders killed Alexander, and had stuck to that story during Samuels’ evaluation of her, reports The Olympian.
One juror asked the psychologist, “How can we be certain that your assessment of Ms. Arias is not based on lies?”
Samuels responded by saying, “The diagnosis of PTSD is a function of an evaluation based upon my 35 years of experience in working with individuals with PTSD…”
Another asked how Samuels could be sure Arias was being truthful about the day Alexander was killed.
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“Psychology is the science of behavior, so we’re seldom 100 percent sure,” Samuels replied.
Jurors also wanted to know whether Arias could be under severe stress and experience memory loss even if the killing of Alexander was premeditated.
Samuels answered with, “Is it possible? Yes. Is it probable? No.”
When asked if a psychologist could be tricked into believing someone was suffering from PTSD, Samuels said it was possible, but not likely. He noted that although Arias had lied about intruders killing Alexander, she was still “essentially telling actually what happened.”
If convicted of murdering Alexander, Arias could be sentenced to death.