|Arias Defense Wants Yet Another Witness|
|By RYAN OWENS||Apr 23, 2013, 3:09 AM|
Jodi Arias' defense team has filed a motion asking the judge to allow an expert witness to rebut the prosecution's expert witness, a psychologist who diagnosed the accused killer with borderline personality disorder.
The defense filed the motion with the court Monday even though they rested their 38-day case a week ago. Arias' team of lawyers would like to call San Diego, Calif., psychologist Dr. Robert Geffner.
This motion comes after the prosecution called Arizona psychologist Dr. Janeen DeMarte last week. DeMarte diagnosed Arias with borderline personality disorder and also rejected testimony by defense witnesses who claimed she suffered from post traumatic stress disorder and domestic abuse.
The personality disorder, she said, was characterized by a history of unstable personal relationships, inappropriate anger, feelings of emptiness, suicidal thoughts and transient stress related paranoid ideation.
Arias' defense team says the personality disorder is new information introduced to the trial and it gives them the right to call another witness to rebut it.
Arias, 32, is accused of killing Alexander, 30, in his Mesa, Ariz., home in June 2008 with 27 stab wounds, a slit throat and a bullet to the head. She initially denied killing Alexander, but claimed two years later that she killed him in self defense. She could face the death penalty if convicted of first degree murder.
It's not clear whether the judge will allow the defense to reopen the case four months into the marathon trial, but it's possible because this is a death penalty case.
"It's very rare for a defense team to ask for a surrebuttal and to get a surrebuttal, but this is after all the Jodi Arias case and everything is different," ABC News legal analyst Sunny Hostin said.
DeMarte spent 12 hours interviewing Arias while in jail and said the accused murder is a manipulative liar. Last Tuesday, DeMarte also spent time on the witness stand discrediting the defense's domestic violence witness — psychotherapist Alyce LaViolette — who spent more than 40 hours interviewing Arias in jail. DeMarte said that amount of time was extreme to come to a definitive diagnosis.
"It becomes therapeutic," DeMarte explained, adding that such a relationship could skew findings. She claimed that amount of time would only be needed for those "who weren't very good" at their jobs.
On Thursday, defense attorney Jennifer Willmott portrayed DeMarte's time with Arias as incomplete and reminded jurors LaViolette spent more than 40 hours before coming to her conclusions that Arias was a victim of domestic violence.
"Oh, you didn't know that?" Willmott said several times after asking DeMarte questions about Arias' life that the witness couldn't answer.
The second motion filed by the defense asks the jury to consider a lesser charge than murder. Arias' defense team hopes "manslaughter by sudden quarrel" or "heat of passion" will be added to the jury instructions. If the judge allows that and the jury finds her guilty of such a lesser charge, Arias could only face a few more years behind bars.
A manslaughter charge carries a 7 to 21 year prison sentence for defendants with no prior record such as Arias.
Arias has been behind bars since her July 2008 arrest.