Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Update on Eagle Mtn. standoff case

"New psychological reports show that an Eagle Mountain man involved in a standoff with police suffers from post-traumatic stress syndrome but doctors said he was not suffering from an episode at the time of the incident.

The findings mean defense attorneys for Matthew Graham may not be able to use his mental state as a defense in trial, but public defender Lisa Estrada said she still plans to discuss the disorder in trial. Estrada told Judge Samuel McVey Monday that police officers were told at the time of the standoff that Graham was a former member of the military and that he suffers from PTSD. The disorder is still relevant to the defense because it may have shaped how officers responded to the incident, she said.

Although the disorder may not serve as a defense for Graham, prosecutor Doug Finch said he may call a psychological expert of his own to rebut any testimony by the defense. Estrada told the court she would like to hire another expert on behalf of the defense, rather than use one of the doctors who conducted the previous psychological exams. However, there may not be time to find a new doctor, as Graham said he would rather have the trial sooner than later. The trial has been preliminarily set to start March 24 and last about eight days." -Daily Herald

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