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Jodi Arias Trial: Personality Disorder v. PTSD

May 2, 2013


Defendant Jodi Arias faces the death penalty if found guilty of first-degree murder of ex-boyfriend Travis Alexander back in 2008.


State: Janeen DeMarte: Personality Disorder

Defense: Robert Geffner: PTSD

Expert psychologist DeMarte who testified for the prosecution has said Arias showed signs of borderline personality disorder. Symptoms of borderline personality disorder include but are not limited to: unstable personal relationships, suicidal thoughts, anger and paranoia.

Arias showed signs of immaturity and an “unstable sense of identity.” People who suffer from borderline personality disorder “have a terrified feeling of being abandoned by others,” she said.

Defense expert Robert Geffner testified that Arias suffered from PTSD as a result from the trauma as well as battered woman’s syndrome and amnesia.

“We’re looking at a consistent pattern of trauma,” psychologist Robert Geffner told the jury on what is expected to be the last day of testimony.

Geffner spoke to the merits of DeMarte’s tests and findings, though believed the form of personality disorder would most reasonably be described as an anxiety disorder that would occur after a traumatic event.

“The tests would indicate significant trauma, and significant issues that cause symptoms with the way this person views themselves, the way they experience themselves, which could be present in an anxiety disorder or post-traumatic stress disorder,” Geffner said.

JURY: What do these differing opinions mean for the jury?

1. Personality Disorder: If jurors believe Arias suffers from personality disorder with an onset prior to the murder, the symptoms of anger, paranoia and inability to let go of relationships would signify that she was capable of first-degree murder.

2. PTSD:  If jurors believe Arias suffered from PTSD, that means they also believe she suffered abuse.

If you have worked with experts Robert Geffner or Janeen DeMarte, please write a review on their Courtroom Insight profiles today!


Brian Skoloff, Associated Press: Just how crucial were experts for Arias defense?

Ryan Owen and Colleen Curry, ABC News: Jodi Arias’s Final Expert Witness Claims PTSD

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