A key expert witness for murder defendant Jodi Arias admitted Monday under cross examination that he should have reexamined Arias after she admitted to lying.
Psychologist Richard Samuels earlier testified that Arias suffered from acute stress disorder, which developed into post-traumatic stress disorder. Samuels said he came to this conclusion after reviewing evidence in the case, examining Arias, and administering a test to diagnose PTSD.
During cross-examination, Juan Martinez pointed out Arias was given the test for PTSD before she admitted killing her ex-boyfriend, Travis Alexander. At the time the test was given, in January 2010, Arias was claiming two unknown intruders had killed Alexander.
“After this testing was done … the story changed and the defendant told you that this story about the strangers was fiction … and yet you did not administer another [test] correct?” Martinez asked Samuels.
“That was an oversight and I should have done that,” Samuels replied.
Arias at first vehemently denied any involvement in killing Alexander. His body was discovered June 4, 2008, in his Mesa, Ariz., apartment. An autopsy revealed he had been shot in the head, stabbed 27 times, his throat cut from ear to ear.
After DNA pinned Arias to the crime scene, she changed her story, claiming there had been a home invasion by two unknown killers. She later admitted to killing Alexander, but claimed it was in self-defense. The prosecution contends she murdered Alexander in a jealous rage over his new love interest.
Martinez further pointed out that Arias had told the defense expert that Alexander had tied her at the hands and feet during a bondage session that took place just prior to the slaying of Alexander. In later testimony, Arias said only her hands were bound.
“Well, that’s what I had in my notes … it is conceivable, in my attempt to write down quickly as she’s talking, I may have added that by mistake, Samuels said.
His reply prompted the following pointed exchange:
Martinez: “So are you confessing or saying that you are wrong in writing that down?”
Samuels: “I don’t know.”
Martinez: “But isn’t [the notes] … part of the clinical interview?”
Martinez: “And isn’t that part of what has formed your conclusion that she was afflicted with post-traumatic stress disorder?”
Martinez: “So don’t you think it would be important to make sure that you are accurate?”
Samuels: “The formulation of the post-traumatic stress disorder came about after a careful analysis of the notes, the crime scene material, and her change of story. These tests, which I administered early, did confirm the presence of post-traumatic stress disorder. Although, I was in error by not re-administering the [test],” Samuels said.
Martinez also pointed out some of Arias’ answers in the test were in contrast to earlier testimony, notably that she had been abused as a child.
Much of Samuels’ earlier testimony was in regard to post-traumatic stress and memory functions of the brain. Monday’s trial consisted of about 90 percent objections and sidebars and 5 percent actual testimony.
Martinez is expected to continue cross-examining the witness on Tuesday, when the trial resumes at 1 p.m. ET.