On the afternoon of May 21, the Aquelin Talamantes trial continued with the defense calling Dr. Captane Thomson back to the stand. Dr. Thomson is the forensic psychiatrist who interviewed the defendant after the drowning of her daughter that occurred on September 26, 2013. After describing the nature of the interviews, the doctor stated to Deputy Public Defender Sally Fredericksen that he believed her client suffered from “acute paranoid psychosis.”
Dr. Thomson is a physician specialized in psychiatry. He completed his undergraduate education at the University of California at Berkeley, attended the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine, conducted his psychiatric residency in Massachusetts General Hospital, and went on to be the mental health director in Yolo County. Due to his professional background in psychiatry and numerous testimonial appearances, Dr. Thomson is testifying as an expert witness in forensic psychiatry in Talamantes’ case.
After briefing the court of the doctor’s expertise, Ms. Fredericksen quickly dove into the details of the doctor’s interviews with her client. Dr. Thomson informed the court that he met with Talamantes on November 21 and December 4 following the death of her daughter, and that his first encounter with the defendant was in jail. Fredericksen asked about the nature of the police reports and the doctor noted that there were an “amazing number of reports.” When questioned if any reports stuck out to him, he said he was particularly interested in previous psychiatrists’ reports.
During his interviews with Talamantes, the doctor stated that he was determining the defendant’s cognitive function, which he defined as the ability to think clearly, intelligently and coherently. His first interview consisted of basic mathematical equations and questions pertaining to solid objects that the defendant could identify. According to the doctor, the defendant performed well with these types of questions, but struggled when asked to interpret proverbs. Dr Thomson said she would take the proverbs literally or simply misunderstand them completely. After the recounting of his first interview with Talamantes, Fredericksen asked him to describe her client’s IQ. The doctor reported that Talamantes has an IQ of 75, and that the IQ for a normal functioning individual is between 90 and 100. The defense then presented her client’s diagnosis history to the court. What the document showed was that her client ranked significantly under the “fully functioning range” on the Global Assessment of Functioning (GAF) Scale.
In his first meeting with Talamantes, Dr Thomson mentioned that he attempted to talk about the events that occurred on September 26, but that she was uncooperative. However, in their second interview she was more compliant. Talamantes told the doctor that she believed the police were going to take and kill her daughter. She stated that she was “in a different state of mind,” and admitted to the drowning of her child. When asked how she drowned the victim, she responded “she drowned face up, it was quick.”
Fredericksen asked what Talamantes’ demeanor was when discussing the details of her daughter’s death, and the doctor reported that it was “acutely painful” for her to talk about that day, and that she appeared to be remorseful and wished she could take it back.
Following the run down of the interviews between him and the defendant, Dr Thomson explained to the court that prior to his visits Talamantes was diagnosed with depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and borderline personality disorder.
Before finalizing her questioning, Fredericksen asked the doctor to illustrate to the court what a “psychotic break” is, to which he described as losing contact with reality, and reasons for uncontrolled behavior.
Trial is set to resume tomorrow morning with the continuation of Dr Thomson’s testimony.
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