Tag Archives: psychiatry expert witness

Mental health word clouds concept with brain ullustration

Oklahoma Man Turns to Psychiatry Expert Witness for Insanity Defense

A psychiatry expert witness provided a report that an Oklahoma man charged with murdering his father is mentally unfit to stand trial, setting the stage for a critical ruling on mental competency from the presiding trial judge.  The case has gained attention in Oklahoma because the victim was a former state official, and the defendant has displayed signs of significant mental disorder.

Oklahoma Man Accused of Murdering his Father

Christian Costello, 27, is on trial for the fatal stabbing of his father, Mark, at a fast-food restaurant in August, 2015.  According to witnesses, Christian attacked his father with a knife while in the restaurant and then continued the fatal assault outside in the parking lot after Mark attempted to flee.  Mark Costello is the former labor commissioner of Oklahoma, and his death brought statewide attention on the question of whether or not Christian is mentally competent to stand trial.

Throughout the investigation into the crime, Christian Costello has been housed at a state run mental hospital where he has undergone a series of examinations in preparation for trial.  Costello’s attorneys have argued that their client is legally insane, and the defendant gave a convincing show of his deficient mental state during this week’s competency hearing by admitting to killing his father because he was a hit man who was ordered to commit the crime as part of a “military operation.”

Despite the defendant’s odd behavior, proof of legal insanity requires more substantial evidence, which attorneys for Costello attempted to provide by calling a psychiatrist expert witness to provide an expert report supporting the insanity defense.

Psychiatry Expert Witness Testifies to Legal Insanity

Dr. Jason Beaman, the chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science at Oklahoma State University, was hired as a psychology expert witness by Costello’s defense team and asked to write a report on the defendant’s competency to stand trial.  Dr. Beamon returned a 39-page report which detailed Christian Costello’s long history of mental health issues including schizoaffective disorder, which is a mental illness causing hallucinations, delusions, depression, and mania.

In regards to the effect of Costello’s mental health issues on his competency to stand trial, Dr. Beaman wrote, “It is my opinion … that the defendant has the ability to appreciate the nature of the charges filed against him but he does not have the ability to consult with his attorney and rationally assist in the preparation of his defense.”  Dr. Beaman went on to write that Costello could meet the legal requirement of mental competency if he underwent psychiatric therapy or training to help him understand the legal processes.

Costello Faces Uphill Battle for Insanity Defense

Dr. Beaman’s psychiatry expert witness report is interesting because it may not provide a strong enough pillar for an insanity defense to stand on – particularly if the trial judge is willing to delay proceedings while Costello undergoes further evaluation or therapy.  Further, Costello’s attorney told reporters that he believes his client was legally insane at the time the attack occurred, telling the press, “I think that’s just the way he is, and I don’t think he knew what he was doing when he killed his father.”  Dr. Beaman’s report, however, did not say Costello didn’t understand the consequences of his actions, but instead focused on his ability to contribute to his own defense – a distinctly different proposition.

With a middling endorsement of the insanity defense from the defense expert witness which does not quite support Costello’s attorney’s position, the defense team may have a difficult time convincing the court to accept an insanity plea. The insanity defense remains a difficult prospect for any defendant as attorneys must use a psychiatry expert witness to not only show a mental defect, but also demonstrate that the defendant did not know their actions were wrong, could not understand the consequences of their behavior, and are unable to contribute to their own defense.

Depending on Oklahoma’s insanity plea laws, Costello’s proposed defense faces a stiff challenge.  The proceedings are on hold while the court awaits the results of an evaluation by a court appointed psychiatrist before moving forward.

court house

California Suspect in Deputy Shooting Declared Competent to Stand Trial after Expert Testimony

Mental competency expert witnesses assisting prosecutors in California have convinced a judge that a defendant accused of murdering two Sacramento sheriff deputies is legally competent to stand trial.  After a series of hearings last fall which featured disputes among expert witnesses who argued over mental competency, the long awaited murder trial of two law enforcement officers will proceed later this year.

Sacramento Man Accused of Murdering Sheriff Deputies

Luis Bracamontes stands trial for the murder of Sacramento-area sheriff deputies Danny Oliver and Michael David Davis, Jr. during a criminal rampage in October, 2014.   Deputies Oliver and Davis, Jr. were murdered after responding to a call about a suspicious vehicle which turned into a deadly shootout with a male and female suspect who used an AR-15-type assault rifle to kill the two law enforcement officers and injure another deputy and a civilian before being arrested.  After the incident, police identified Luis Bracamontes, a man who had twice been deported to Mexico, as the shooter and filed murder charges against him.

Before Bracamontes could face trial for murder, his attorneys demanded a competency review to determine if the defendant was legally competent to understand the charges against him and participate in his defense.  Questions about Bracamontes’s mental competency intensified during a hearing in February of 2015 when he blurted out, “I did kill those cops.  You can execute me whenever you’re ready” without being prompted.

Competency Hearing for Man Accused of Murdering Sacramento Sheriff Deputies

Throughout November and December of last year, Luis Bracamontes faced a mental competency hearing featuring mental health experts who debated the defendant’s mental state in front County Superior Court Judge Steve White.  Attorneys for Bracamontes called psychiatry expert witnesses to inform the court that the defendant did not properly understand the nature of the consequences of his actions.  Psychiatry expert witnesses who interviewed the defendant while in jail argued he did not fit the legal definition of mental competency because Bracamontes believed he was close to God that he will be saved from death because lethal injection drugs will transform into vitamins instead of killing him.

Prosecutors countered with expert witnesses who acknowledged the defendant suffered from a mental illness, but argued he understood what is going on and can participate in his own defense.  The legal standard for mental competency does not depend strictly on whether or not a defendant is mentally ill, but instead focuses on if a person accused of a crime can comprehend the criminal justice process and the consequences that a conviction brings.  If a defendant has a diagnosed mental illness but can still follow the legal process and understand the charges against him then a judge can determine that the mental disorder does not preclude prosecution.

In the case of Luis Bracamontes, expert witnesses for the prosecution explained to the court that the defendant’s mental illness was not so severe as to inhibit his understanding of the murder trial proceedings, and argued he was competent to face the charges.

California Man Charged with Killing Sheriff Deputies Declared Competent to Stand Trial

After hearing the expert witness testimony about Luis Bracamontes, Judge White determined the defendant was mentally competent to face murder charges for the 2014 slaying of two sheriff deputies.  Although experts for the defense painted the picture of a man who embraced execution because he felt close to God, the prosecution expert witnesses – who focused on the legal standard of mental competency rather than a mental illness diagnosis – ultimately convinced Judge White to proceed with the trial as planned.  After the competency ruling, Bracamontes’s murder trial is scheduled to begin in March of this year, and the defendant faces the death penalty if convicted.

Texas Cop Killer Sentenced to Death Despite Testimony from Neurology Expert Witness

The capital murder trial of a Texas man accused of shooting a sheriff’s deputy resulted in a death sentence this week despite attempts by the defense team to mitigate the circumstances of the murder with a neuropsychiatrist expert witness.  The defense expert presented testimony to the jury that the defendant may have committed the crime involuntarily due to external and internal influences on his brain function, and prosecutors responded by calling to question the expert’s research conducted in preparation for the trial and his objectivity.

Convicted Texas Cop Killer Sentenced to Death

Mark Anthony Gonzalez was convicted earlier this month for the May 28, 2011 fatal shooting of Sheriff’s Sgt. Kenneth Vann at a stoplight.  According to court records, Gonzalez pulled up next to Sgt. Vann and opened fire with an AR-15 assault rifle, hitting the deputy with 26 bullets and killing him.  Gonzalez was arrested after later confessing to the crime, and was convicted for killing Vann after only an hour of deliberations earlier this month.

Jurors debated longer on the matter of appropriate punishment, but ultimately agreed on a death sentence after two days of deliberations earlier this week.  Central to the question about appropriate punishment was Gonzalez’s mental competency at the time of the shooting, and to that point defense attorneys attempted to dissuade a death sentence by calling an expert witness to inform jurors that Gonzalez mental state may have been suspect at the time he opened fire on Sgt. Vann.

Mark Anthony Gonzalez Defense Calls Neuropsychiatry Expert Witness

During the trial of Mark Anthony Gonzalez defense attorneys called a neuropsychiatry expert witness to tell jurors that several internal and external factors could have combined to distort the defendant’s mental state at the time of the shooting.  According to James Merikangas, a neurology and psychiatry expert witness from Washington, D.C., Gonzalez may have suffered a concussion in a fall the week before the shooting, and compounded his problematic mental state by spending the evening before he killed Vann drinking with friends and not eating dinner.

Merikangas told jurors that the combination of a potential pre-existing brain injury and low blood sugar from an evening of drinking could result in a condition known as an “automatism.”  When pressed for further explanation, Merikangas responded, “An automatism is a complex series of actions of which the patient has no knowledge and has no will and it just happens automatically. People with automatisms can drive a car, can carry on conversation and do things without willing it, without wanting to and without knowing about it later when they recover. They have no memory.”

Merikangas did not personally interview Gonzalez and is not a therapist, but his expert testimony was focused on providing a possible explanation for the shooting that diminished the defendant’s intent or malice.  Defense attorneys used Merikangas’s expert opinion in an effort to reduce Gonzalez’s culpability and help him avoid the death penalty.

Prosecutors Challenge Defense Expert Witness in Cop Killer Trial

Prosecutors challenged Merikangas’s expert testimony about Mark Gonzalez’s mental state at the time he killed Sgt. Vann by questioning the defendant’s actions after the crime during which he not only confessed to a friend but also altered the firing pins on his AR-15.  Prosecutors alleged that the defendant demonstrated knowledge of his crime and attempted to cover up his actions, both of which suggest that he was not acting in an automatic state which he could not control.  During cross-examination of the defendant’s expert prosecutors also questioned his objectivity by having Merikangas confess that he is philosophically opposed to the death penalty.

Ultimately Mark Anthony Gonzalez’s neuropsychiatry expert witness was not enough for him to avoid a death sentence.  The severity of the crime, the character of the victim, and the ability of prosecutors to question Merikangas’s expert testimony were enough for the jury to agree on the death penalty.  Gonzalez’s sentence is pending confirmation based on the results of a separate hearing designed to legally settle the defendant’s competency.  Prosecutors are confident that the competency hearing will confirm that Gonzalez comprehends the nature of his crime and therefore uphold his death sentence.


Psychology Expert Witnesses Testify in Colorado Murder Sentencing Trial

A Colorado man convicted of murdering five people outside of a bar avoided the death penalty when jurors found sufficient mitigating factors to believe he deserved jail time instead of execution.  In part, the jury was influenced by psychology expert witnesses presented by the defense during the sentencing phase who testified that the defendant’s history of childhood abuse warped his worldview and decision-making.

Colorado Man Convicted of Murder for Stabbing Death of Five People

In mid-August a Colorado jury found Dexter Lewis guilty for murdering 5 people outside of a Denver bar in 2012.  Lewis was convicted of stabbing his victims multiple times during what prosecutors called an act of rage and savagery.  Lewis allegedly went to the bar with intent to rob it, but instead acted violently against the bar’s owner and four patrons before lighting the building on fire with their bodies inside.    Throughout the trial, prosecutors showed grisly pictures of the scene to paint Lewis as a vicious and remorseless killer which convinced jurors that he was guilty of the crimes committed.

After the verdict was announced, jurors prepared to pass judgment in the second phase of the trial which would determine an appropriate sentence.  In an effort to reinforce the extreme nature of the crime, prosecutors again highlighted the visual evidence taken from the scene as they argued Lewis deserved to be put to death.  Defense attorneys for Lewis countered by telling jurors about the defendant’s history of suffering abuse at the hands of his mother and step-father in the gang influenced environment where he grew up.  Lewis’s attorneys called two psychology expert witnesses to use his challenged background as a mitigating factor that would help him avoid execution.

Psychology Expert Witness Testifies about Effect of Childhood Abuse

During the sentencing phase for the Dexter Lewis murder trial, prosecutors attempted to convince jurors that the brutality of the defendant’s actions was severe enough to warrant the death penalty.  Defense attorneys for Lewis countered that the abuse the defendant suffered during his childhood effected his brain development and altered the way he perceived the nature of his actions.  Prosecutors objected to the use of psychology expert witnesses by arguing it was up to the jury to identify mitigating factors, but both of Lewis’s experts took the stand during his sentencing phase.

First to testify for Lewis was Dr. Bruce Perry, a psychiatrist who is an expert on the effects of childhood trauma on development.  During his testimony, Dr. Perry spoke about how abuse, particularly abuse by a parent, alters the way children develop and can explain why they would grow into violent adults.  Perry, who founded the Child Trauma Academy in Houston, Texas, told jurors that abuse during the period when children form relationships that help dictate how they view the world leaves executive function of the brain impaired.  Dr. Perry concluded his expert testimony by telling jurors that impaired development can cause children to grow up without impulse control or the ability to regulate emotions in stressful situations.

Although Dr. Perry did not work with Lewis personally, his testimony showed jurors that people who suffer the abuse and neglect that Lewis suffered could become violent due to lack of brain development.  To directly connect Lewis’s condition with Perry’s testimony, defense attorneys wrapped up their case by calling a clinical psychologist who analyzed the defendant’s mental state.

Clinical Psychologist Expert Witness Takes Stand for Dexter Lewis

Mark Cunningham, a clinical psychology expert witness, took the stand last as defense attorneys for Dexter Lewis argued the defendant did not deserve the death penalty.  Cunningham echoed the expert testimony from Dr. Perry by pointing to the long term effects that regular abuse has on children, and showed jurors that the sustained and severe abuse that Lewis suffered throughout his childhood impaired his ability to make reasonable decisions and control violent impulses.  Although Cunningham was not permitted to testify about the content of his interviews with the defendant, he told jurors that Lewis’s history of physical and emotional abuse would have a severe impact on the developmental process.

Ultimately the jury agreed that Dexter Lewis deserved leniency to avoid the death penalty, assuring that the defendant will instead spend the rest of his life in prison.  Use of psychology expert witnesses during a capital murder sentencing phase has become more commonplace, and attorneys for Dexter Lewis demonstrated that helping jurors understand the negative effects of childhood trauma can convince a jury to opt for life in prison instead of execution.

Schizophrenia Expert Witness Testifies for James Holmes Defense

Defense attorneys for Colorado theater shooter James Holmes called a psychiatry expert witness to the stand this week to testify that the defendant suffered from schizophrenia at the time he committed the crime.  Before the expert could testify at open trial, attorneys for both sides debated her qualifications to offer her opinion during trial.

James Holmes Defense Calls Psychiatry Expert Witness

Throughout his murder trial, Holmes’s attorneys have argued that he was legally insane because he was in the midst of a psychotic episode at the time of the 2012 attack on a crowded Colorado theater.  In an effort to convince jurors that their theory of Holmes’s insanity is correct, they called Dr. Raquel Gur as a schizophrenia expert witness earlier this week.  Dr. Gur is a professor of Psychiatry Neurology and Radiology at the University of Pennsylvania, and she has been hired as a consultant for Holmes’s defense.

Dr. Gur is not a licensed and practicing forensic psychiatrist, however, she is a lead researcher in schizophrenia and psychiatry who has conducted hundreds of psychiatric interviews during the course of her career.  Dr. Gur is also no stranger to serving as an expert witness, and she has been asked for her opinion about a number of high profile offenders including the Unabomber Ted Kaczynski and Jared Loughner, who shot U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords and killed six bystanders in a case that did not.  Dr. Gur has testified as an expert during a number of criminal trials, and has offered pre-trial diagnosis in several other cases.

Despite her history as an expert witness in criminal cases, Dr. Gur faced stiff opposition from prosecutors who questioned her ability to add relevant testimony about whether or not Holmes was legally insane at the time of the shooting incident.

Colorado Prosecutors Challenge James Holmes Expert Witness

Before being allowed to take the stand as a psychiatry expert witness, Dr. Gur was asked pointed questions about her qualifications by District Attorney George Brauchler, who took the expert to task for not having forensic psychiatry experience or being a licensed clinical psychiatrist.  Dr. Gur consistently maintained that she had the research background and expert witness experience necessary to answer questions about Holmes’s mental state at the time of the shooting because she has interviewed hundreds of clients and conducted years of research on the effects and diagnosis of schizophrenia.

Attorney Brauchler also opposed the introduction of Dr. Gur’s power point slides into evidence, complaining that the defense had failed to provide prosecutors with the slides with sufficient advanced notice.  During a long hearing earlier this week, the parties closely reviewed each of Dr. Gur’s proposed slides and her CV to argue about what she will be allowed to say during trial.  Despite objections of the prosecution, Judge Carlos Samour allowed Dr. Gur to testify and present most of her slides to aid the jurors understanding of Holmes’s mental state at the time of the shooting.

Holmes Psychiatry Expert Witness Takes the Stand

After a contentious vetting process, Dr. Gur took the stand to explain to jurors that James Holmes suffered, and continues to suffer, from schizophrenic delusions that committing the atrocity would raise his “human capital” and make him become a more valuable person.  Dr. Gur conducted more than 28 hours of interviews with Holmes in a two-year period following his July, 2012 shooting, and testified that the defendant showed lack of emotional response and an inability to make rational decisions, which could indicate he suffers from schizophrenia.  After hearing Holmes speak about the shooting incident in the months that followed, Dr. Gur testified that in her expert opinion he was unable to distinguish right from wrong at the time of the shooting and was qualified for the insanity defense under Colorado law.

Dr. Gur’s testimony directly contradicts two prosecutorial expert witnesses who testified earlier in the trial that Holmes was not legally insane because he could distinguish right from wrong.  As the trial continues in the coming days, prosecutors will likely make a strong effort to discredit Gur on the stand and call her testimony into question during cross-examination.  After almost 45 days of trial, the defense is expected to conclude its case this week leaving only closing arguments before the matter goes to a jury for verdict.

Estranged Heirs use Expert Witness in Billionaire Sports Owner Mental Competency Trial

A Louisiana judge will decide the future of both of New Orleans’ professional sports franchises and billions of dollars of inheritance money in the mental competency trial of 87-year-old billionaire owner, Tom Benson.  Although the court will hear testimony about Benson’s competency from a variety of sources, the testimony of a geriatric psychiatry expert witness dominated the courtroom last week, and will be crucial to the trial’s final outcome.

Estranged Benson Heirs File Mental Competency Lawsuit

Benson’s daughter, Renee Benson, and her children, Rita and Ryan LeBlanc, filed a lawsuit challenging the 87-year-old’s mental competency in January then they were removed from ownership and executive positions in Benson’s two professional sports franchises: the New Orleans Saints of the NFL and the Pelicans of the NBA.  According to the plaintiffs, the elder Benson has been manipulated by his current wife and a small circle of executives, and is not competent enough to make decisions without undue influence of the people he keeps closest to him.

Benson argues that he is of sound mind, and that he disowned the plaintiffs because they have consistently mistreated his third wife, Gayle, who he married in 2004.  Although the three plaintiffs will still inherit hundreds of millions of dollars from a series of trusts Benson has established over the years, he has made every attempt to remove the three from any ownership positions and shares of his two teams in order to prevent them from inheriting interest in his businesses.

In order to demonstrate that Benson is mentally incompetent and subject to undue influence by the people he keeps close to him, Renee, Rita, and Ryan must show that he does not understand what is happening with his property, and cannot grasp the consequences of his decisions. The plaintiffs would also need to provide clear evidence that Benson is being manipulated by someone else because he is unable to make decisions on his own account.

Geriatric Psychiatry Expert Witness Takes Stand in Benson Competency Trial

Last week, the Benson heirs wrapped up their case against the patriarch’s competency by calling a geriatric psychiatry expert witness to testify.  Dr. Ted Bloch III was one of three doctors who performed a court-ordered review of Tom Benson’s psychological competency, and was chosen as an expert witness by the plaintiffs.  Dr. Bloch took the stand after six other witnesses, including Renee Benson, took the stand to speak to the 87-year-old’s declining mental and physical health. The plaintiffs elected to use a psychiatry expert to conclude their case and leave the lasting impression that Mr. Benson is not mentally competent in his old age.

Judge Kern Reese has agreed to respect the privacy of all parties involved by keeping the courtroom closed to the public and placing a gag order on all testimony that is offered during the trial, so the specifics of Dr. Bloch’s testimony are unclear.  Speaking to reporters after the session, attorney for the plaintiffs Randy Smith noted that Bloch’s lengthy expert testimony was trying, but went according to plan by saying, “We knew this wouldn’t be an easy thing emotionally. It’s really not an easy case, but testimony and the evidence is going pretty much the way we expected.”  Dr. Bloch’s geriatric psychiatry expert testimony wrapped up the plaintiffs’ case, leaving questions about how the defense would respond.

Benson Defense Team Begins Case

Lawyers for Tom Benson opened their case with testimony by calling the team president of both the Saints and Pelicans, Dennis Lauscha.  Lauscha works closely with Benson, and likely discussed how involved he is in the day-to-day operations of the businesses – reinforcing Benson’s position throughout the trial that he is not only of sound mind, but is an active participant in the ongoing management of his two marquee businesses.  The secrecy surrounding the trial has left unclear the list of other witnesses, or if Benson himself will take the stand to demonstrate his mental competency.

Two psychiatry expert witnesses who also evaluated Benson have been seen accompanying the defense legal team to and from the trial hearings, suggesting that both could take the stand as experts in defense of Mr. Benson’s mental health.  Given the high stakes, it is likely that Benson’s attorneys will rely on expert witness testimony to bolster their case, but with the gag order preventing access to the trial observers will only be able to speculate about the details when Judge Reese hands down a decision later this summer.

Expert Witness Testifies in James Holmes Mass Shooting Trial

After several weeks of hearing from witnesses and police who explained how James Holmes carried out the 2012 attack on a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, jurors in the case were finally presented with testimony about his mental state when a prosecution expert witness took the stand to affirm that Holmes was legally sane at the time of the shooting.  Holmes is on trial for the murder of 12 people, and his mental state at the time of the attack will factor heavily into the jury’s verdict.

James Holmes on Trial for Opening Fire in Colorado Theater

In July of 2012, James Holmes entered a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado during a showing of the hit Batman movie, Dark Knight Rises, and opened fire on the unsuspecting crowd of roughly 400 people.  Holmes’ shooting resulted in the death of 12 people and injury of 70 others, and he was subsequently arrested and charged for his crimes.  After years of investigation, the Holmes mass-shooting trial began last month with the defendant facing a number of charges, including capital murder.  Holmes has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity while prosecutors contend that he was not insane and deserves to face the death penalty for his crime.

Prosecutors opened their case by presenting eyewitness testimony and gruesome crime scene photos to demonstrate not only the severity of Holmes’ attack, but also the precision with which he planned the shooting and his subsequent escape.  Prosecutors allege that the defendant was fully aware of what he was doing, knew that he was engaging in serious criminal conduct, and therefore he does not satisfy the legal requirements of an insanity defense.  After presenting evidence of the scene, prosecutors collaborated their position by calling a mental health expert witness who spoke with Holmes at length in the immediate aftermath of the defendant’s incarceration to testify that he was legally sane at the time of the shooting.

Prosecution Expert Witness Testifies to James Holmes’ Sanity

Because Holmes has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, the jury’s opinion on his mental state at the time of the shooting will be critical to the outcome.  To validate their argument that James Holmes was legally sane at the time of the shooting, prosecutors called Dr. William Reid as a psychiatry expert witness.  Dr. Reid spent over 22 hours with Holmes over the course of 9 interviews shortly after his arrest, and took the stand last week to tell jurors that the defendant did suffer from a mental illness, but was legally sane under the definition of sanity used by criminal law.

The legal standard for insanity does not turn on mental illness, but instead evaluates whether or not the defendant had the capacity to know right from wrong, and was aware of the legal consequences of his actions. Pointing to portions of his session with Holmes, Dr. Reid told jurors that he exhibited remorse for his actions, and made statements of regret when asked about the shooting.  Although the sessions came after the shooting, Holmes demonstrated knowledge that his actions were wrong, which calls to question his claims of insanity.

While on the stand, Dr. Reid told jurors of Holmes, “My opinion is that he did not — is that, whatever he suffered from — it did not prevent him from forming the intent and knowing what he was doing and the consequences of what he was doing.”  Dr. Reid’s expert testimony went on to inform jurors that the defendant satisfied the requirements of legal sanity because Holmes was able to understand the gravity of the shooting. Reid’s expert testimony served two critical roles: first, it informed jurors that the legal definition for insanity was not satisfied, and second, it broke the connection between mental illness and legal insanity that could have otherwise caused confusion for jurors.

Holmes’ Attorneys Question Prosecution Expert Witness

Although the prosecution’s use of Dr. Reid as an expert witness may prove to be effective, the content of the testimony also raises questions that could come up should Holmes be convicted and later file an appeal.  Defense attorney Daniel King protested Reid’s testimony largely because the prosecution asked their expert witness to make a conclusion about Holmes’ mental state specifically within the confines of the legal definition of insanity.  While this line of questioning was allowed by the judge, it toes the line of permissible use of expert witnesses because Dr. Reid arguably made a factual conclusion within the standards of the law which is a job typically left up to jurors.