Psychologist testifies in Jennifer Kennedy murder trial. 8/17/12
The defense has rested its case. The judge has set closing arguments for 9:00 am Monday. The jury has promised to avoid discussion and media coverage of the case this weekend.
A psychologist who examined murder suspect Jessica Kennedy testified that Kennedy suffers from post traumatic stress disorder and hears voices.
Dr. Katherine Smith said Kennedy suffered prolonged sexual and physical abuse as a child from several relatives. She testified that Kennedy was hospitalized at 8-years-old because of the abuse, and that she was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. Dr. Smith said that was fascinating to her because it is very rare in children.
She said Kennedy was also diagnosed with severe major depressive disorder with psychotic hallucinations, and she's been hearing voices since she was eight. She also testified that Kennedy has been in a violent and abusive relationship with Brandon Steele for two years.
Dr. Smith said she believed that Kennedy self-medicated by taking meth, because it helped get rid of her emotions.
Because of all this, said Dr. Smith, Kennedy is not a psychologically normal person. She said after experiencing real personal abuse, threats are not seen as idle.
"Jessica has seen bad people do bad things to those who do not have power," said Dr. Smith.
Friday morning's proceedings in the trial of a woman accused of killing a Monroe County Election Commissioner began with her court-appointed attorney moving for a mistrial.
John Eldridge asked for a mistrial because Thursday the judge told the jury an interrogation tape of Jessica Kennedy would not be played and said the tape was "not important." The judge denied the motion.
The defense continued outlining their argument that Kennedy confessed to the crime because she was scared. Kennedy says that two men, Wallace Boonie Stokes and Brandon Steele, threatened her while they were being held in the jail at the same time.
A jailer testified that is was "hard to move her (Kennedy) anywhere" without Steele screaming and yelling at her to "keep her mouth shut."
Stokes took the stand Friday, denying he had anything to do with Miller's murder or that he threatened Kennedy.
The defense is also expected to call a psychologist to the stand, to talk about Kennedy's personality profile, including an abusive past and mental state that would make her more likely to accommodate people she viewed as authority figures.
According to testimony, Kennedy had a sexual relationship with both Steele and Stokes.
The judge told the court he hopes to finish all testimony Friday and begin closing arguments Monday.