Return to Transcripts main page


Psychologist: Jodi Arias Suffers from PTSD

Aired March 14, 2013 - 19:00   ET


JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST: You will not miss a moment of testimony with the psychologist for the defense on the stand right now.

Good evening. I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell. I`m also going to show you just-revealed crime scene photos that will astound and horrify you. But first, let`s go right back into the courtroom.

RICHARD SAMUELS, PSYCHOLOGIST: This is not in every psychologist`s office.

JENNIFER WILLMOTT, JODI`S DEFENSE ATTORNEY: OK. So in other words, would the person have to be very familiar with the test to try and fake the answers?


WILLMOTT: And you told us, I think, already that this particular test confirmed your hypothesis.


WILLMOTT: And your hypothesis -- what was your -- what did it confirm for you?

SAMUELS: It confirmed that she did suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.

WILLMOTT: All right. And how is it that you -- well, I guess before that 00 before that, let`s talk about your other test, the MCMI.


WILLMOTT: OK. What test is that?

SAMUELS: That again is the Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory Test, Third Revision. It`s a well-recognized and frequently-used test to measure personality, and the diagnostic categories that are suggested by it conform also to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual.

WILLMOTT: All right. And how is this test scored?

SAMUELS: This test is 175 items to which you answer true or false. It is also scored by a very complex computer-based algorithm, too complicated to -- it would be almost impossible to do by hand.

And so I send these tests -- I sent that test out to a professional scoring service that sent back the results. And the -- I consider that to be like a second opinion, because I may have an idea of something and a second psychologist has not interviewed the individual. And so this is the closest I can get to a second opinion without having to bring on another professional.


SAMUELS: And comes up with some diagnostic categories and comes up with graphs and charts, and by analyzing the data that was presented to me, it confirmed that my suspicion was likely that she did suffer from posttraumatic stress disorder.

WILLMOTT: OK. And on -- on this particular test, is there anything built into the test to indicate its accuracy?

SAMUELS: Yes. There are scales there that are referred to as life scales, validity scales, consistency scales, and she seemed to do fine on all of those.

WILLMOTT: And do those scales -- does that somehow try to report whether or not it appears that the person is -- is trying to fake the answers?

SAMUELS: That`s correct.

WILLMOTT: All right. And with regard to Ms. Arias, did you say that her scores were showing valid?

SAMUELS: Yes. The printout indicated that this was a valid result and that she appeared to respond in an accurate and honest manner.

WILLMOTT: OK. All right. So, based on these two tests and your meetings with Ms. Arias, you say you formed the opinion that she has PTSD, is that right?


WILLMOTT: All right. Let`s talk a little bit about PTSD.


WILLMOTT: OK. What is it?

SAMUELS: Well, it`s an anxiety disorder. It has some specific characteristics that I was able to relate to the various criteria that are listed here in the book.

And in my report I refer to the particular specific criteria that my study indicated Jodi, Ms. Arias, meets that particular criteria. And based on that and the confirmation from the two tests led me to feel very comfortable using the diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder.

What it means is that an individual has a stress-related disorder that involves certain characteristics that are seen even over and over again in people who are similarly diagnosed. There may be a sense of detachment. There may be emotional blunting. There may be intrusive thoughts.

WILLMOTT: Let me stop you there. What -- what`s detachment?

SAMUELS: Detachment is when a person is not quite in contact with reality. It`s not psychosis, but they may be in an extreme state of denial. They may not be able to deal with certain issues. That`s part of one of the characteristics.

WILLMOTT: And what was the second that one you said?

SAMUELS: Another characteristic would be emotional blunting.

WILLMOTT: OK. What`s that?

SAMUELS: When their emotional range is very constricted. The normal affect that we have, the highs and the lows that most people are able to present -- except if you`re obviously very depressed or whatever, and it`s hard to do that -- is restricted, so there`s a very narrow range of emotions. A person may appear to be flat and emotionless. That`s another characteristic.

WILLMOTT: All right.

SAMUELS: And there are a lot, and I can read that for you if you want me to do that.

WILLMOTT: Well, we`ll get into that, specific to Jodi. Can -- with PTSD, so you`re saying that it`s something that is contained -- PTSD, the diagnosis itself, is contained in the DSM?


WILLMOTT: All right. So there are specific criteria what you were talking about.

SAMUELS: That`s right.

WILLMOTT: And in order to diagnose somebody, do you have to have these specific criteria?

SAMUELS: You have to have a certain number of them. It`s very specific. You have to have 3 out of 10 in one category and 5 out of 6 in another category and so on and so forth. And you just basically compare your notes, your decisions, your conclusions with those various criteria, and if the person meets enough of them, they`ve got the diagnosis.

WILLMOTT: OK. Judge, now is probably a good time.

JUDGE SHERRY STEPHENS, PRESIDING OVER TRIAL: All right. Ladies and gentlemen, we`ll see you back here at 3:15. Please remember the admonition. You are excused.

The record will show the jury has left the courtroom. Counsel, please approach. We are in recess. Doctor, you may step down.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Well, you just heard it. The defense psychologist stating unequivocally Jodi Arias did suffer from posttraumatic stress disorder, but does our expert panel buy it? Let`s go out and debate it. Jordan Rose, attorney out of Phoenix, for the prosecution; Holly Hughes for the defense. We`ll start with Holly Hughes.

HOLLY HUGHES, ATTORNEY: I like this guy. And I like -- the most important thing is that he met with her not just once, not twice, which is what most defense experts do. He met with her 12 times over a period of three years, and he`s got almost 40 years of experience.

So when he gives his explanation, he`s trustworthy. And I like what he`s saying. And it explains a lot of us have been puzzling, why the flat affect? What is wrong with this girl? You know, we expect someone who acts in self-defense to be really emotional.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. OK. Jordan Rose for the prosecution, do you buy it?

JORDAN ROSE, ATTORNEY: No, I mean, I think Dr. Fog here is putting everyone into a fog of boredom and sleep in the jury, because he`s talking about something that I think we would all expect, which is that Jodi forgot -- the moment that she killed him she could have forgotten because she was very stressed out.

But that does not excuse all the premeditation, and posttraumatic stress syndrome certainly doesn`t excuse all of the planning that went into her driving halfway across the country to find him and kill him that evening.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you`re absolutely right. It doesn`t excuse anything that came before the fog, but Seth Myers, clinical psychologist, do you buy the argument that she had PTSD?

SETH MYERS, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: No, I don`t necessarily buy that that is the appropriate diagnosis. I think actually what she`s doing here and her defense team is doing is making a mockery of mental health and -- and the manual of mental disorders.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Stacy Kaiser, psychotherapist, what say you?

STACY KAISER, PSYCHOTHERAPIST: I do believe that she meets a lot of the criteria for posttraumatic stress disorder, and you can indeed get posttraumatic stress disorder after premeditating a murder.

I also want to point out that that detachment, that lack of emotion, that also calls -- goes under the criteria of sociopath. And so it`s very possible that she could have an antisocial personality disorder.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Excellent insight. Let`s go back into the courtroom. That brief break is over. Let`s listen.

STEPHENS: All right. Ladies and gentlemen, seated in the back of the courtroom, please make sure that all of your electronic equipment has been turned off unless you have specific permission to have it on.

All right. You may proceed.

WILLMOTT: Thank you. All right. Dr. Samuels, we finished -- we stopped just when we started to talk about PTSD. Can we talk about the criteria, the general criteria for PTSD?

SAMUELS: Yes. The criteria are actually fairly specific. And I`d like to just read them -- read them from the book, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, for accuracy.

WILLMOTT: All right. And that`s the DSM IV.

SAMUELS: This is the DSM IV.

WILLMOTT: Can you tell us on the green tag what number it is?

SAMUELS: Yes. It has been entered as Exhibit 528.

WILLMOTT: OK. It`s marked as Exhibit 528. All right. Go ahead. You`re going to tell us what the criteria -- specific criteria are for PTSD.

SAMUELS: Right. So when you go through these criteria, they`re very, very specific. And so you compare these criteria to what you have learned from interview, from the crime-scene reports, if you`re dealing with a criminal case, from the psychological testing and so forth.

"The person has been exposed to a traumatic event in which both of the following were present. One, the person`s experienced, witnessed or was confronted with an event or events that involved actual or threatened death or serious injury, or threat to the physical integrity of self or others -- or others," period. "Two, the person`s response involved intense fear, helplessness or horror."

And then they go on to explain for children it`s a little different, but that`s not relevant here.


WILLMOTT: Go ahead.

SAMUELS: "... the traumatic event is persistently re-experienced in one or more of the following ways." So of the five that I`ll read, at least one of them has to be present. "Recurrent or intrusive distressing recollections of the event, including images, thoughts or perceptions. Two, recurrent distressing dreams of the event. Three, acting or feeling as if the traumatic event were reoccurring; includes a sense of reliving the experience, illusion, hallucinations and dissociative flashback episodes, including those that occur on awakening or when intoxicated. Four, intense psychological stress and exposure to internal or external cues that symbolize or resemble an aspect of the traumatic event. And five, psychological reactivity on exposure to internal or external cues that symbolize or resemble an aspect of the traumatic event."

That`s not all. "C..."

WILLMOTT: Let me ask you: so one of those things has to be present?

SAMUELS: At least one of those things has to be present.

WILLMOTT: OK. And then another criteria?

SAMUELS: "C, persistent avoidance of stimuli associated with the trauma and numbing of general responsiveness not present before the trauma is indicated by three or more of the following." And there are seven.


SAMUELS: "Efforts to avoid thoughts, feelings or conversations associated with the trauma. Two, efforts to avoid activities, places or people that arouse recollections of the trauma. Three, inability to recall an important aspect of the trauma. Four, markedly diminished interest or participation in significant activities. Five, feeling of detachment or estrangement from others. Six, restricted range of affect, e.g. unable to have loving feelings. Seven, a sense of a foreshortened future; example, does not expect to have a career, marriage, children, or a normal lifespan."

And finally, "D, two or more of the following," and there are five. "Persistence symptoms of increased -- increased arousal not present before the trauma as indicated by two or more of the following. One, difficulty falling or staying asleep. Two, irritability or outbursts of anger. Three, difficulty concentrating. Four, hyper-vigilance. Five, exaggerated startle response."

So you go through these criteria, and you compare that to the picture that`s presented by the client either through interview, other police records, et cetera, et cetera, any psychiatric material if you have it, test results and so forth.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: A psychologist on the stand for Jodi Arias. And she is listening intently. Can he turn this ship around for her and prove to the jury or convince them that she has PTSD?

We`re going to take a very short break. Back with more testimony on the other side. Stay right there.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Psychologist Richard Samuels interviewed Jodi Arias a dozen times over three years and concludes that she suffers from PTSD and did indeed go into a fog. Will the jury believe him? Let`s go back into the courtroom and listen.

WILLMOTT: Is this something that psychologists anywhere, if they were looking at a patient, they would be relying on this particular -- these particular criteria?

SAMUELS: That`s correct.

WILLMOTT: All right. And with regard to PTSD, let`s talk about your specific diagnosis, then. What`s specific to Jodi. And for that do you need to refer to your report?


WILLMOTT: OK. Can you tell us the -- what`s the exhibit number on that?

SAMUELS: I`m sorry. Can you repeat that?

WILLMOTT: What`s the exhibit number on your report?

SAMUELS: What page?

WILLMOTT: Exhibit number?

SAMUELS: Oh, exhibit number. I`m sorry. It`s over here: 525.

WILLMOTT: OK. And so the report and then -- and you would take what you`ve learned about Ms. Arias, if I understand this correctly...


WILLMOTT: ... and compare it to the criteria in DSM.

SAMUELS: That`s correct.

WILLMOTT: All right. And the information that you learned from Ms. Arias is coming from multiple sources, is that right?


WILLMOTT: So is it more than what she told you?


WILLMOTT: And -- and also based on the testing that you did?


WILLMOTT: OK. All right. Let`s talk about the criteria. What did you -- what`s the first criteria that you found that relates to Ms. Arias?

SAMUELS: Hold on. It will take me a second to locate it. "Criteria A-1," which is as follows. "The person experienced, witnessed or was confronted with an event or events that involved actual or threatened death or serious injury or threat to the physical integrity of self or others."

WILLMOTT: OK. And how does that relate to Ms. Arias?

SAMUELS: Well, she was involved in a homicide. We have data to show that perpetrators of violent crimes will frequently develop posttraumatic stress disorder from having been the -- the initiator of such an event. We see that also in soldiers and police officers.

WILLMOTT: All right. And we`ll talk about that in a second. So -- so that`s how you relate A-1 to Ms. Arias?


WILLMOTT: OK. What`s the next criteria?

SAMUELS: "A-2, the person`s response involved intense fear, helplessness or horror."

WILLMOTT: OK. And how does that relate to Ms. Arias?

SAMUELS: In describing her experiences, what she could remember and the very fact that her defense mechanisms were built up so strongly that she couldn`t confront the reality of what she did, I considered criteria A- 2 as having been met.

WILLMOTT: What are you talking about, that her defense mechanisms were built up so strongly?

SAMUELS: Well, I have a psychological theory as to describe why the story was created.

WILLMOTT: The intruder story?

SAMUELS: The intruder story.

WILLMOTT: And then the story before that, that she wasn`t there at all?

SAMUELS: That`s right.

WILLMOTT: OK. And what -- what`s your psychological...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So the doctor just said you can get PTSD from initiating the traumatic event. So could she have murdered him and then gone into a fog?

A very short break. We`re back with more testimony on the other side.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Psychologist Richard Samuels on the witness stand for the defense. Is Jodi Arias`s life in his hands? Let`s listen in.

WILLMOTT: The intruder story?

SAMUELS: Then intruder story.

WILLMOTT: And then the story before that, that she wasn`t there at all?

SAMUELS: That`s right.

WILLMOTT: OK. And what -- what`s your psychological theory?

SAMUELS: Well, we call it denial. It`s a very intense form of denial where a person cannot deal with the fact that something they did was so opposite of everything else they stood for in life. I determined that by reading her diaries, primarily.

And in her diaries, she is essentially a pacifist and not a violent word, not a negative word. I didn`t come across one negative word, statement, violent thought or hostile thought in any of all of these writings that I read.

WILLMOTT: And let me just be specific. In these writings that you -- that you talk about, these are not just writings starting from 2006 to 2008, right?

SAMUELS: These go back to either junior high or high school.

WILLMOTT: OK. And -- and so when you`re talking about not a violent thought or things like that, is that also true for the writings that begin when she was a teenager?


WILLMOTT: All right. And so how does that then help you to give us A-2?

SAMUELS: When a person engages in an activity that is the opposite of what they stand for, the horror of that all, the inability to accept what has happened. can create in one`s mind a psychological wall between them and the reality of what happened.

And that can occur by either denial that they were there or that it actually happened -- and there was evidence that she pretended it didn`t happen -- or making up a story that was just the opposite of what happened to distance herself from that. So that to me met criteria 2.

WILLMOTT: All right. And is that what you -- making up a story, is that what we`re talking about with the intruder? Or are they -- what she originally told you at the florist (ph)?

SAMUELS: Yes. She could not deal with the fact that she had done it.

WILLMOTT: All right. And in fact when she -- according to -- to your information, it took several years, didn`t it, before she could admit to herself what had happened?

SAMUELS: Yes, it did. It did.

WILLMOTT: And is that something -- is that -- psychologically speaking, is that -- the defense mechanism still holding up that long?

SAMUELS: That`s not unusual at all. Some people go through life with a defense mechanism impeding their lives. But it took Ms. Sonermi (ph) and I a couple of visits, actually, to help her get through that and to break down that barrier. And if you look at the perspective of therapy, it would have been considered a therapeutic breakthrough.

WILLMOTT: OK. All right. So let`s go through to the next criteria.

SAMUELS: "B-3, acting or feeling as if the traumatic event were reoccurring; includes a sense of reliving the experience, illusions, hallucinations and dissociative flashback episodes, including those that occur on wakening or when intoxicated."

She reported experiencing a number of intrusive thoughts and memories, either sometimes during the day or at night in her dreams.

WILLMOTT: What do you mean by intrusive thoughts?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: The psychologist saying that Jodi Arias lied -- first saying she wasn`t there, then saying ninjas killed Travis -- because she was in denial.

A very short break. We`re back with more of this astounding testimony.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Defense psychologist Richard Samuels doing a brilliant job, perhaps, of reframing Jodi Arias`s lies, calling them denial. Let`s listen in.

WILLMOTT: What do you mean by intrusive thoughts?

SAMUELS: Thoughts of Travis, thoughts of Mr. Alexander, thoughts of good times they had, thoughts of some of the bad times they had. And these thoughts would pop into her mind and it was hard for her to shut them down.


SAMUELS: So that to me met the criteria for C-3.

WILLMOTT: All right. So when you talk about intrusive thoughts, you`re not talking about her having memories of what actually happened on June 4th?

SAMUELS: No because she doesn`t have those memories.

WILLMOTT: Ok. And so when you say she doesn`t have those memories, what do you mean?

SAMUELS: That the acute stress condition that she was in precluded the hippocampus from forming those memories and they`re not available for recall.

WILLMOTT: So are they ever -- are they ever able to be recalled?

SAMUELS: Probably not. If they don`t come back within a reasonable period of time, it`s not likely they will and some amnesias remain permanent.


SAMUELS: And that`s not unusual.

WILLMOTT: All right. And so when you talk about these intrusive thoughts then it`s more about her relationship with Travis?

SAMUELS: Yes, these various aspects of the relationship with him.

WILLMOTT: Ok. And did it -- and the fact that they are labeled intrusive thoughts, does that mean that she`s not able to shut them down?

SAMUELS: That`s correct.

WILLMOTT: Ok. And that met criteria B-3?

SAMUELS: That was -- yes. B-3. C-3: inability to recall an important aspect of the trauma. She doesn`t recall it at all because she was in a state of acute stress. C-6, restricted range of affect, example, unable to have loving feelings. But her affect has been flattened. It`s blunted. She is not able to express highs and lows and that I believe is a meeting of criteria C-6.

WILLMOTT: Ok. Let`s talk about C-6 for a second. What do you talk about when -- what do you mean when you say blunted affect?

SAMUELS: A person`s emotional range becomes very constricted from the highs of excitement to the lows of depression. It seems to be very, very constricted and the person comes across as being emotionless.

WILLMOTT: Is that how somebody expresses themselves?

SAMUELS: That`s the best they can do.

WILLMOTT: Well, that`s when you talk about the range of emotion, are you talking about how they express themselves?

SAMUELS: Yes, how they express themselves.

WILLMOTT: Ok. So is that something that you notice when you`re talking to patients?

SAMUELS: Oh, absolutely. We always make a comment about their affect and the mood in the mental status part of the report. It`s the first thing we see.

WILLMOTT: Ok. So that`s what you mean by -- sorry -- blunted affect, right?


WILLMOTT: Ok. What was the other part that you mentioned with C-6?


WILLMOTT: With C-6 -- there was something else?

SAMUELS: C-6. D-3 -- difficulty concentrating. Actually there`s one more. There was D-4 as well. I guess I left it out of my report --


SAMUELS: -- which was hyper-vigilance. Being very, very -- she used to be a very sound sleeper. That was reported early on in her diaries regarding some activities between Mr. Alexander and she -- and her. She became hyper-vigilant at the jail, easily awakened at night and had difficulty falling asleep at times.

WILLMOTT: Now, how do you -- how do you know the difference between the fact that she might just be -- her sleeping situation is different and it`s louder? How do you know that`s not what occurred versus hyper- vigilance?

SAMUELS: Well, that could account for some of it but it seems to have occurred over a long period of time and so there`s always a period of adjustment when we move into a new situation. And jails are noisy, there`s no doubt about it.

But she pointed it out to me. She said she`s easily awakened by noise in the jail and prior to that she was able to sleep very, very soundly.

WILLMOTT: Ok. And is this something that has lasted over time?

SAMUELS: Yes, it has.

WILLMOTT: Ok. So in other words this adjustment period of changing sleeping situations it outlasted this adjustment period?

SAMUELS: Yes. Many people have difficulty going to sleep in a hotel room the first night or two that they are there. So that`s fairly common. I just realized this now. I should have also listed D-4 as the criteria.

WILLMOTT: Ok. And that`s the hyper-vigilance, right?


WILLMOTT: Ok. All right. Move it to the next criteria.

SAMUELS: That was it.

WILLMOTT: Oh, I thought you said D-5.

SAMUELS: Well, exaggerated startle response. I didn`t see that that much.

WILLMOTT: Oh, ok. Ok. So how many criteria do you have to have before you can diagnose somebody with PTSD?

SAMUELS: Well, for criteria A you need both of the following which she did; for criteria B, one or more of the following and there were five; C, three or more of the total of seven that exist; and D, two or more of the five that exist.

WILLMOTT: C, you said there`s three or more?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, there`s Dr. Samuels saying that Jodi Arias has flattened affect, blunted affect. And Jodi is nodding, yes, I do. Yes, I do.

We`re going to take a short break. Back with more of this really extraordinary testimony on the other side.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jodi Arias listening to this defense psychologist who she met 12 times over three years really trying to sell to the jury that she had PTSD -- post-traumatic stress disorder. Let`s listen in.


SAMUELS: Beg your pardon?

WILLMOTT: With C there is three or more that you have to use?

SAMUELS: Three or more, yes.

WILLMOTT: Ok. And what are these -- I have C-3 and C-6.

SAMUELS: Oh, yes. You`re right. Hey, I don`t know what happened there. Ok, hold on. Feeling of detachment or estrangement from others -- there should have been C-5. Sorry about that.

WILLMOTT: Ok. So what does that mean?

SAMUELS: Not being able to connect all that well. Feeling detached from reality. Not being able to deal with the reality of the situation would account for some of the stories that were made up in the beginning.

WILLMOTT: Ok. All right.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would ask that you not do that please.

WILLMOTT: Actually I don`t think that that`s the exhibit that he`s writing about.


SAMUELS: No, no. This is my copy. I left you a copy there.

SHERRY STEPHENS, PRESIDING JUDGE: All right. You may proceed.

WILLMOTT: All right. So based on these criteria, that`s what tells you and -- ok, let me go back to the test then. How did the test that -- the test that you performed bolster this --

SAMUELS: Excuse me. I also --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m going to object. (inaudible)

STEPHENS: Sustained.

WILLMOTT: What did you want to say?

SAMUELS: I wanted to say that she also meets criteria C-7 which is a sense of a shortened future. She was thinking about suicide for the longest period of time.

WILLMOTT: Ok. All right. And is that something that she discussed with you when you first met with her?

SAMUELS: Yes. And we talked about that from the earliest times because it`s always a suicidal risk so you have to be careful about that.

WILLMOTT: Ok. All right.

The scales on the PTSD test, what do they do to confirm what you just told us?

SAMUELS: Ok. Now, coming at this from a different perspective, the test is designed to ask the individual if they can identify certain symptoms or certain experiences that they have had. And a statement is in the question item and they circle on an answer sheet the particular items that they identify with and once that is done for the five different sections on the test, I have to add this up. Add them up. Determine if it meets criteria which are very specific.

She met all five criteria therefore meeting the DSM diagnostic criteria for PTSD. It`s not quite as specific as this but it is just a different way of looking at the same problem and it also measures the severity of the symptoms as reported by the individual. And in that case she indicated what they were. What it was. And so that was another confirmation.

Also on the Milan test, the two highest elevated scales were the post- traumatic stress disorder scales and the anxiety scale -- anxiety being a major component of post-traumatic stress disorder, so that was yet a second confirmation of the diagnosis.

WILLMOTT: Ok. And when you talk about high elevated scales, what does that mean?

SAMUELS: Well, that`s a good point (inaudible) -- I have to be careful when I say that. The test generates an output from the computer. And -- can I hold it up to the jury and show them what it looks like? It`s like a bar graph. And on one side is a score and on the other side are the different categories and there are scores for paranoia, schizophrenia, anti-social characteristics and a whole range of them.

Of those variables anxiety is one scale and PTSD is another. And the two highest elevations of those scales was the PTSD scale and the anxiety scale. And this was something that was scored electronically so that it was like a second opinion to me.

WILLMOTT: Ok. So that further confirmed the PTSD.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: And we have some breaking news. We understand court normally does not occur on Friday but tomorrow there will be an evidentiary hearing. Remember that there was a big brouhaha over the PowerPoint presentation and certain elements of it involving homicide? They are going to debate that tomorrow outside of the jury`s presence.

We`re going to have it here tomorrow. So join us tomorrow for all of that. I`m sure there`s going to be more fireworks.

Let`s take a very short break. We`re going to be back with more testimony.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: You remember Jodi Arias famously said "No jury will ever convict me" and later revealed that she said that because she was contemplating suicide. Now this defense psychologist is testifying that as he evaluated her she was at times suicidal. Let`s listen in.


WILLMOTT: You talked a little bit about -- you talked a little bit about whether or not -- can a person who causes trauma -- let`s go back to criteria A-1 -- that`s the trauma, experiencing the trauma. So what if the person is the one who causes the trauma?

SAMUELS: Well, research has -- recent research in the past ten years has shown a report of post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms in individuals who perpetrate crime. I have a couple of articles that show this, if it`s ok to show them?

STEPHENS: Did you prepare a PowerPoint slide to help explain it?


WILLMOTT: All right. So I think some of your examples talked about like a police officer who shoots somebody.

SAMUELS: That`s correct. Or a soldier.

WILLMOTT: Or a soldier who was killing the enemy.

SAMUELS: That`s correct.

WILLMOTT: All right. So in those type of situations they would be the ones who are -- I guess would you say that --

SAMUELS: The perpetrators of the act.

WILLMOTT: The perpetrators -- ok. So what does research tell you about the perpetrators of an act with regard to PTSD?

SAMUELS: This is relatively new material. So I could only find a couple of articles. If I looked deeper, I`m sure I could find more but there`s a law of diminishing returns. In this one particular study --

WILLMOTT: Ok, I`m sorry. Can I publish this slide?

STEPHENS: You may.

SAMUELS: In this one particular study, they were looking at a population of mentally-ill perpetrators. This is not to say that Miss Arias is mentally-ill but this is where the data comes from and we have to do the best we can with the data.

But I have another article that shows something similar.


SAMUELS: But in mentally ill perpetrators, these are people that were hospitalized after the commission of the crime who committed an act of homicide. Of the 29 in the group, granted it`s small, 19 were assessed by the PTSD scale and they discovered that lifetime prevalence of post- traumatic stress disorder following homicide was 58 percent. So 58 percent of this particular population, which is not an average population I must admit, had PTSD diagnosed whereas another 21 percent had partial PTSD. They did not have all the criteria, but they had many of the criteria.

WILLMOTT: Ok, all right, can you go to the next one? And what does this article tell us?

SAMUELS: This is another article about intrusive memories of perpetrators of violent crime. These were not necessarily all involved with killing but some of the victims were just seriously harmed.

But 46 percent of the 105 young offenders, these are people under 30, reported stressing intrusive memories which is a symptom of PTSD; while 6 percent were diagnosed with PTSD. So not as high as the mentally ill group, but still a significant number of people suggesting that perpetrators of violent crime are subject to developing PTSD symptoms.

So the fact that Miss Arias was a perpetrator of a horrendous crime, is not out of step with my diagnosis of her having PTSD.

WILLMOTT: Ok, so -- so in other words, when you say perpetrator, in other words, she is the person -- she`s admitted that she is the one who killed Travis?

SAMUELS: She admitted it.

WILLMOTT: And we`re not talking about the reasons why, ok, at this point. But based on that fact alone, it is still very possible that she can suffer from PTSD just because she is the one who did the killings?

SAMUELS: Yes, and again, having worked with a population where violence was involved with police officers and so forth, I can attest to the fact that the percentages are probably a little bit higher than this particular study. But I wasn`t doing the study, so I can`t report my data.



VELEZ-MITCHELL: I am a little confused as to how this helps Jodi Arias. Essentially the psychologist was saying murderers get PTSD, too. How does that help her? I don`t know.

A short break and then we`re back with more of this truly compelling testimony.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: The defense psychologist saying that criminals and killers also get PTSD. I wonder what the prosecution is going to do with that on cross examination. Let`s go back to the courtroom.


WILLMOTT: Ok, and when you said -- you mentioned your study -- or you were working with police officers. In those situations, obviously, they were not considered necessarily crimes when a police officer shot somebody.

SAMUELS: That was a traumatic experience.

WILLMOTT: Ok. And so you were working with those police officers with regard to their traumatic experiences?

SAMUELS: Yes, for example I remember one patient that I had, but not a police officer who killed someone during a hunting accident. And he became so laden with post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms that he required leaving work and going on disability, he was that negatively affected. But that is only one case I`m reporting to you.

But the fact of the matter is it happens, I`ve seen it and the data supports it.

WILLMOTT: All right. And with regard to you working with police officers and working with PTSD in general, how much experience do you have working with PTSD?

SAMUELS: Well, when I was doing my forensic work back east, I had a lot of medical malpractice cases, many of which involved medical injury due to surgical procedures. And many of those individuals developed PTSD as a result of their injuries because they -- they developed all kinds of disabilities, problems in living, obsessing about the anger at the doctor and so on and so forth. And they didn`t all meet that criteria, but quite a few did meet the criteria of post-traumatic stress disorder.

WILLMOTT: Ok. And what other experience do you have working with post-traumatic stress.


SAMUELS: People that were involved in accidents, injuries, fire. A patient I had was involved in the MGM fire years ago and he lost his lover and suffered terribly from post-traumatic stress disorder, because he felt they were trapped on the floor, and the other fellow died and he couldn`t save him. These are the kinds of traumatic situations that can bring about post-traumatic stress disorder.

WILLMOTT: All right, and in terms of years how long have you been working with post traumatic stress.

SAMUELS: Probably from the time that I began. My first couple of years I didn`t have cases like that but over 30 years.

WILLMOTT: Ok. All right, I think that that was it for this slide.

SAMUELS: That is it for that slide.

WILLMOTT: All right.

I want to ask you about PTSD and acute stress. Do they have anything to do with each other?

SAMUELS: They do. Usually acute stress disorder -- may I define what it is?

WILLMOTT: Yes, actually, let`s go to your DSM and define acute stress.


The diagnostic criteria for an acute stress disorder: the person experienced, witnessed or was confronted with an event or events that involve actual or threatened death or serious injury or a threat to the physical integrity of self or others, and to the person`s response involved intense fear, helplessness or horror. Those are the -- and then criteria B.


SAMUELS: As to three or more out of the following five. Here are the five: a subjective sense of numbing; detachment or absence of emotional responsiveness; a reduction in awareness of his or her surroundings, being in a daze; de-realization; de-personalization and associative amnesia.

WILLMOTT: Ok. Let me stop you there. De-realization and de- personalization -- what are those things?

SAMUELS: De-personalization, when a person feels outside of their own body. They don`t feel in contact with themselves, they feel like they`re floating, spacey.


SAMUELS: De-realization is being disconnected from the environment per se and just functioning with themselves, with the entire world trying to maintain the reality as best as they can.

Dissociative amnesia we indicated occurs because during periods of acute stress, the hypothalamus -- the hippocampus rather -- the hippocampus does not form the memories that -- as we explained that before, and so the dissociative amnesia is very common during this particular disorder.

WILLMOTT: Can I ask you something about that.


WILLMOTT: The hippocampus, when it doesn`t form the memories, are those memories ever available?


WILLMOTT: All right, sorry, go ahead.

SAMUELS: C, the traumatic event is persistently re-experienced in at least one of the following ways -- recurring images --


VELEZ-MITCHELL: So Dr. Richard Samuels is asking the jury to believe his conclusions based on the fact that he interviewed Jodi a dozen times over three years. But what if she was lying to him?

Nancy, next.