Expert witnesses testify on Avalos' mental state

- Andres Avalos paid close attention as three expert witnesses for the defense talked about his brain.

"He's feeling like she's not afraid of him. He's not being taken seriously," said Dr. Valerie McClain.

Dr. Valerie McClain, a licensed psychologist hired by the defense said Avalos experienced a psychotic break on December 4, leading him to murder his wife Amber, neighbor Denise Potter and Pastor Tripp Battle.

"Basically I think he snapped and lost it," she said.

"From reality?" asked the defense.

"That's correct," she responded.

She told jurors a mental disorder made him paranoid of all three victims.

"I think because of his delusional disorder he basically was going to accomplish what happened," she said.

Prosecutors argued Avalos knew what he was doing. It's not a mental illness, they said, but a history of drug and alcohol abuse.

"There really is no period that we can identify long term sobriety. Would you agree?" asked the prosecution.

"I think he struggled. I think you're correct," answered McClain.

A projector displayed large images of PET scans of Avalos' brain. Two doctors claimed the scans how abnormal spots. Prosecutors said those spots prove nothing.

"You can't look at what you deem to be an abnormality on a PET scan and say he has got paranoid schizophrenia?" asked the prosecution.

"No" answered Dr. Steven Cohen.

"You couldn't look at an abnormality and say he suffers from delusional disorder?" the prosecution asked.

Doctor Cohen responded, "No."

Prosecutors have worked to squash any claims that Avalos is mentally unstable. They want jurors to see he was in his own right mind when he committed the murders.

"You would never make a diagnosis of a specific condition based solely on a PET scan?" asked the prosecution.

"Oh no. Never," answered Dr.Cohen.

The trial will resume with closing arguments on Friday morning. 

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