Two state psychiatrists testified yesterday that Terrence G. Johnson was sane when he fatally shot Prince George's County police Officer James Brian Swart last June 26, directly contradicting the testimony ot two defense witness call Tuesday.
Dr. Stuart Silver and Dr. Michael K. Spodak, both psychiatrists at Clifton T. Perkins state mental hospital, told a Circuit Court jury in Upper Marlboro that they found that Johnson suffered no "mental disorder" in the seconds after he shot Officer Albert M Claggett IV.
"Amnesia does not necessarily indicate mental illness," Spodak said in response to Johnson's testimony that he does not remember shooting Swart. "It's either coincidental or too convenient to forget something just at the moment when you've done something illegal."
Silver discounted defense psychiatrist Dr. Frances Welsin's diagnosis that johnson suffered "transient situational disturbance" or temporary insanity after shooting Claggett.
"I'm not saying that he (Johnson) wasn't under great stress and anxiety," Silver said. "I think he was under great stress. When that happens there may be a slight transient situational disturbrance. But I don't think in this case it was substantive or had clinical significance.
"From the story Terrence told me he was terrorized and had a realistic view of the situation. To think one is grave danger in a police station when he has just shot a policeman is an appropriate reaction."
Johnson, on trial for murdering Claggett and Swart in the basement of the Hyattsville police station nine months ago, argues that he shot Claggett in self-defense. The terror and stress of the action made him temporarily insane when he shot Swart, according to the defense.
The psychiatrists and Joseph Paul Stone, a psychologist who tested Johnson at Perkins, were the last three witnesses to testify in the eightday trial.
State's Attorney Arthur A. Marshall Jr. and defense attorney R. Kenneth Mundy will make closing statements this moning. The case is expected to go to the jury after lunch.
Most of yesterday was taken up by defense attorney Mundy's extensive cross-examination of the three state expert witnesses who testified about Johnson's mental health.
Under questioning from Mundy, Stone, the psychologist, conceded that he had not conducted any stress tests on Johnson, even though stress is a key factor in temporary insanity, because stress tests are no "part of our standard procedure."
Stone also said he gave Johnson adult tests because he was two weeks short of his 16th birthday when he took the test and 16 is the cutoff age for using juvenile test. He said his tests showed that johnson was "more concerned than average with physical strength," and added that "threats to the body are a prominent issue with him."
Mundy also attempted to recoup some ground lost Tuesday when his phychiatric expert, Welsing, was on the stand. During cross-examination Marshall managed to get Johnson's juvenile record introduced.
Mundy pointed out yesterday even though Johnson's juvenile record included reports on three assaults, he had never been found guilty of wrong-doing in any of the incidents.