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Authors: Girish Karthikeyan

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BOOK: Remember
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With almost rehearsed confidence she says, “Dr. Mekova’s time of attack was determined using several methods. The main method was the amount of blood. The crime scene techs figured out the bleeding rate of Dr. Mekova’s injury. That, with the amount of blood recovered at the scene, allowed them to say it happened at 7:55 p.m. that evening. At 7:58, Mr. Abby entered Dr. Mekova’s office and he exited at 8:03. He claims to have found her unconscious at 8:05.”

“How was the arresting decision made?”

“For a typical case you need the weapon, the individual at the scene, and the motive. In this case, we were confident of getting all we needed following Dr. Abby’s arrest. I admit it may have been premature arresting him at the time. Everything just fell into place.”

Mrs. Alamander raises an eyebrow in feigned surprise. “Was anyone consulted other than the building security?”

“Nothing, except idle speculation prior to his arrival at the station. The psychologist just happened to be walking by, I pulled him in.” A slight scratch of the nose qualified her previous statement. “The consultation with other experts took place as needed. These additional people brought on were the psychologist and yourself.”

“How was this case solved in such a quick manner?”

“There was a narrow suspect pool. Once the time was found, it became a simple process of elimination.”

The prosecutor smiles satisfied with her work. “I would like to submit exhibit #2, Mr. Abby’s phone records and that of Dr. Mekova. He was the last person she called prior to the incident, correct?” She hands the pad with the evidence to Margrove.

Nina studies the records. “Yes.”

“Now you have evidence Dr. Abby was at the scene of the crime. How was he placed with the weapon?”

“We found a retractable weapon with Dr. Abby’s bloody fingerprints. The blood was a DNA match to Dr. Mekova.”

“This is exhibit #3, the weapon in question.” She deftly opens the puck-shaped weapon by pressing the edges, extends the knife, and shows it to the jury. “How was his motive established?”

“We had no help directly from the suspect. He always had a lawyer on hand. I’ll let Dr. Buren take it from there.”

“No further questions.”

“Mr. Vintage, you may cross-examine the witness,” the Hon. Malcolm Waters says.

“Yes, Your honor,” Mr. Vintage says. “At which point did Mr. Abby ask for his attorney?”

“When he arrived at the station, he was taken directly to the interrogation room. He wouldn’t say another world without his attorney present. I guess we tipped our hand by reading him his rights and charging him.”

“Yes, if you had a chance to do it again, would you change anything?”

“Objection, relevance,” Mrs. Alamander says.

“Withdrawn,” Mr. Vintage answers. He leans in the witness stand to directly face her. “Were any other suspects reviewed during the course of the investigation?”

“As I’ve said multiple times, a narrow suspect pool.”

He retreats to pacing the floor. “Please answer the following questions with yes or no. Were any other suspects looked at?”

“The list of…”

“Yes or no, please,” he says firmly.

“No.”

“Is it possible Dr. Abby was only trying to help Dr. Mekova?”

“Yes.”

“Is it possible for someone to circumvent the security measures?”

“Yes.” Nina leans back, comfortable under the barrage of swift questions.

“Is it possible that another individual was at the scene of the crime?”

“Yes.”

“Is it possible to plant Dr. Abby’s fingerprints at the scene?”

Testimony of the accused landed on deaf ears for centuries now.

“Yes.”

“Is it possible Dr. Abby is innocent of murder?”

“Yes.”

“No further questions.”

The judge asks the next witness to be called.

 

Due Process

 

Hostile Psychology

Mon 10/5/17 11:35 a.m.

 

T
he District Attorney, Mrs. Alamander says, “I call Dr. Daniel Buren to the stand.”

A squat geriatric man wearing a tweed jacket and slacks comes forward. His round glasses perch atop a miniature nose. I have a sense that I know him from some place. Of course I do. The Bailiff swears him in. Mrs. Alamander stands at the edge of jury booth and asks about his expertise.

He unbuttons his tweed jacket and pushes up his glasses before listing his various degrees and experience. The average healthy weight of everyone around here makes me wonder how it’s possible. Then a new idea enters my head, they just alter the nutrition density so everyone feels full without drawing too many calories.

“When did you originally hear about this case?”

“Investigating Agent Margrove brought it to my attention just as a curious case, an employee attempting
to kill a supervisor then trying desperately to save her life. It makes for an intriguing case from a psychological standpoint.”

“When did you conduct your first session with Mr. Abby?” Mrs. Alamander continues to stare with unrelenting eyes at the face of the doctor.

No doubt intimating at veracity.

“I wouldn’t call it a session. I discovered nothing privileged. His attorney was always present. Anything about the actual incident remained off the table. The first meeting took place after a failed interrogation. I just asked general questions about his psyche.” Buren considers his hands as the next question comes.

“What were you able to learn from this brief time with Mr. Abby?”

“I conducted a few more sessions with him, totaling 30 hours. The empathy questions stood out. He was shown pictures of people in different situations and then asked what they were feeling. The standard result hinges on successfully choosing an approximation of the true emotion. In Dr. Abby’s case, he put together a standard answer only for people saving others.”

“What did this mean for Dr. Abby?”

He looks up to the skylight before speaking. “The answers alerted me to do a full psychological evaluation. We did the standard lab tests. The fact is 80 percent of the general population can be diagnosed with the tests alone. The other 20 percent need a skilled psychiatrist to perform the diagnosis. Dr. Abby’s inconclusive result meant it was up to me to make a diagnosis. Dr. Abby has heroic personality disorder.”

“What are the signs and symptoms of this disorder?”

“Sure, it shares some similarities with narcissistic personality disorder. The common ground is an inflated value of self. Heroic personality disorder suffers tend to create situations in which they can come to the rescue. In addition, they only feel empathy towards others in life threatening situations. They put themselves in these positions or others.” He looks sympathetically in my direction.

“How does this produce a motive?”

“Dr. Abby has been surrounded by an escalating series of events directed towards Dr. Mekova. Dr. Abby always comes to the rescue. If he caused the incidents, it is impossible to tell.” Sweat collects under his eyes from the magnifying effect of this prescription.

“Can you explain why the attacker allows the victim to survive? Your extensive experience with individuals that have committed such acts should inform this answer.”

This elicits grave faces from the jury. Surviving is better than death, damn the consequences.

“Objection, hearsay!” Mr. Vintage says to this.

Buren jumps at the sudden interruption.

From Buren’s reaction, Vintage rattled him.

The Judge says, “Overruled, ladies and gentlemen of the jury please accept the following testimony as possibilities, not fact. Mrs. Alamander you may continue.”

Mrs. Alamander says, “Dr. Buren?”

“The fact of the victim’s survival means nothing to suffers of HPD
. They aren’t seeking adulation, but the experience of trying to save a life. The question you were asking — leaving the victim alive is usually considered to be more traumatizing. The victim must deal with the consequences of the lifesaving treatment, in this case cardiopulmonary resuscitation. The resuscitation breaks ribs when administrated properly. The victim experiences constant pain for well over a month with each excruciating breath.” He sighs with regret.

“Can you explain the psychological impact to the victim?”

“The trauma associated with the nature of the attack, the victim feels forced into something despite their hardest fight against it. The memories form a haunting echo in the psyche of the victim. The treatment is complete memory suppression of the incident. Otherwise, the psychological trauma lingers for an indefinite period of time. The victim becomes a husk of their former selves dominated by the incident.”

Mrs. Alamander crosses the room to her desk. “Thank you doctor, no more questions.”

“Mr. Vintage, you may cross-examine the witness,” the Hon. Malcolm Waters says.

“Why were you brought into the investigation?” my attorney, Mr. Vintage asks from behind the desk.

“Objection, hearsay,” Mrs. Alamander says.

“I’ll rephrase. Did anyone tell you the motivation of having you on this case?” He approaches the witness.

“Yes.”

“What was it?”

“Margrove asked me to see if Dr. Abby had a reason to kill Dr. Mekova. She couldn’t understand Dr. Abby saving her after the fact.”

“What does an inconclusive lab result mean about Dr. Abby?”

Buren’s glasses fog up so much they need wiping. “It means he needs to be diagnosed by an actual psychiatrist. The test means nothing more.”

“Doesn’t it also mean his symptoms are on the edge of mental illness?”

His hands now rest on the railing, balled up into fists. “Mental illness is a spectrum. It isn’t right to use a strict cutoff like a lab test. The inconclusive result means nothing.”

“You still haven’t answered my question. Based on the clinical definition, what does Dr. Abby’s test result mean?”

“His symptoms are close to the clinical definition. The lab tests are not sensitive enough to make an accurate diagnosis.”

“What is the difference between the lab and psychiatrist methods in terms of objectivity?”

Mrs. Alamander says, “Objection, concluding.”

“Overruled, Dr. Buren has the experience and knowledge to answer the question. Dr. Buren you may answer,” the judge says.

He relaxes his hands only to squeeze them together. “In comparison, the lab method is more objective than the evaluation method.”

“Objective means without bias, correct?”

“Yes.”

“Does that mean it is possible for two different psychiatrists to decide on a different result?”

“It is possible, but highly unlikely.”

“Can chemicals present in the subject’s blood stream make it appear as if a patient has HPD?”

“Yes.” He turns beet red with the suggestion of error.

“Can
memory enhancer-LS
have this affect?”

“Objection, relevance,” Mrs. Alamander says.

“This question gets to the real issue,” Mr. Vintage says.

“Overruled.”

Dr. Buren says, “Yes.”

“I would like to introduce defense exhibit #1, a series of lab results. Please look at these, Dr. Buren.” Mr. Vintage hands him a pad with the results. “What do these tests say about the presence of
memory enhancer-LS
?”

The pad quivers in his grasp. “These tests say Dr. Abby has an elevated level of
memory enhancer-LS
on the dates these tests take place.”

“What are the dates?”

“It looks like four times each week after his arrest.”

“Are the dates inclusive of your sessions with Dr. Abby?”

“Yes.”

“Could this be the cause of his symptoms?”

Dr. Buren puts the pad down to wipe his hands. “Yes.”

“How did Dr. Abby get this in his blood?”

“Objection, the speculation is outside the witness’s scope of knowledge,” Mrs. Alamander says.

“Sustained,” the judge, says.

“Did Dr. Abby have a prescription for
memory enhancer-LS
?”

“No.”

“I’m going to make a series of statements. Please, correct me, if anything I say is incorrect.

“Okay.”

“You diagnosed Dr. Abby with heroic personality disorder…

A test to verify the diagnosis came up inconclusive…

Memory enhancer-LS
has been known to cause a misdiagnosis…

Dr. Abby has
memory enhancer-LS
in his system…

Do agree with these statements?”

Buren looks around the room lingering on the jury. “Yes.”

“Thank you for your time, Dr. Buren.'

The judge says, “Let’s take an hour recess for lunch. Reconvene promptly at 1:30.”

They remove me from the courtroom to meet with my attorney. I wait in a private meeting room, down the hall. How is the trial going for me? I sit there waiting for Mr. Vintage.

 

Pep Talk

Mon 10/5/17 12:33 Noon

 

M
r. Vintage joins me in the meeting room with the first half of the trial concluded. Vintage sits across from me.

“How’s everything going, Vintage?”

BOOK: Remember
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