"During the trial Tuesday, small details about the case surfaced, including that Doud has been taking anti-depressant medication for anxiety since before his disappearance in 2002 and that, after his wife's death, he wrote a letter to his children asking them if they believed he killed their mother."
SSRI Stories note: "Amnesia" is listed as a Frequent side effect of SSRI antidepressants in the Physicians Desk Reference.
One witness left in Marshall Doud murder trial
Posted: 08/11/2009 07:42:28 PM PDT
Updated: 08/11/2009 07:44:11 PM PDT
SANTA CRUZ – After four days on the witness stand, accused murderer Marshall Doud stepped down Tuesday afternoon and his attorney rested his case.
Doud was the only defense witness to testify during the jury trial, which began Aug. 4 and could send the 43-year-old to state prison for the rest of his life. He is accused of allegedly smothering his wife, Morgana, 42, early on Sept. 4, 2007.
Doud, whose testimony was interrupted by hours of video-taped footage of his interviews with police, testified that he does not remember killing his wife. He claims he suffered a blind spot in his memory around the time his wife died.
Prosecutor Andrew Isaac plans to call Dr. James Missett, a psychiatrist, as a rebuttal witness Wednesday. Missett, a San Francisco Bay Area-doctor, likely will be the last person to testify and closing arguments are expected Thursday.
Outside of court, Isaac said Missett will address the psychiatric validity of the claims Doud has made. The doctor has reviewed the case file and Doud's testimony in preparation for Wednesday's court appearance.
Isaac added that the District Attorney's Office has consulted with medical experts from the onset of the case because investigators suspected Doud would use a mental health defense.
The defense did not utilize any expert witnesses, but Doud testified at length about his mental health history and his experiences on the day his wife died.
Doud told jurors that he woke up around 1:30 a.m. that day to use the bathroom, then walked downstairs in his Mentel Avenue home to check on his children, who were all asleep, and watched the creatures in the family's saltwater fishtank.
But then he suffered some sort of blackout, Doud testified. He "woke up" on the top of the staircase terrified and unsure of what time or day it was. Doud testified that he lost about two hours of his memory.
"It's scary. It's difficult to describe," Doud told the jury Tuesday. "It's like turning around and not seeing anything."
Overwhelmed with fear, Doud got dressed and fled his house in the middle of the night, he testified. He drove to his Scotts Valley office, then into the Santa Cruz Mountains, where he passed the day sitting on a rock in the woods trying to make sense of the thoughts in his head. At dusk, he walked back to his pickup and decided to contact his therapist, he testified.
The effort to reach his doctor brought Doud to Santa Cruz police headquarters, where he was able to meet with the therapist but was arrested on suspicion of killing his wife.
Throughout the case and repeatedly during the trial, Doud has said he has no memory of killing his wife. He has said the memory lapse is similar to one he experienced in December 2002 when he was missing in the Sierra Nevada wilderness near Yosemite for several days. When he was located that time, Doud said he had no idea how or why he ended up snow camping in the mountains.
During the trial Tuesday, small details about the case surfaced, including that Doud has been taking anti-depressant medication for anxiety since before his disappearance in 2002 and that, after his wife's death, he wrote a letter to his children asking them if they believed he killed their mother.
Monday, the prosecution introduced a letter written the night of Morgana's death by one of Doud's sons in which the teenager stated his father was going to kill the whole family.
Two of the couple's three teenage children, who found their mother dead on her bed, have been called to testify against their father.