Bustamante Sentencing Enters Second Day

6 years 3 months 2 weeks ago Tuesday, February 07 2012 Feb 7, 2012 Tuesday, February 07, 2012 11:56:00 AM CST February 07, 2012 in News
By: Meghann Mollerus

JEFFERSON CITY - The prosecution in the case of Alyssa Bustamante called its rebuttal witness Tuesday morning to kick off what could be the final day of testimony in the sentencing hearing for second-degree murder.

The family of victim Elizabeth Olten smiled as Dr. Anthony Rothschild, a Harvard graduate and neuropsychiatry professor, disputed all testimony heard Monday from the defense's psychiatrist witness. Rothschild said, based on his own research and involvement in what are known as phase 3 double-blind clinical studies, "I agree with Bustamante's suffering from manic depression disorder, as well as bipolar disorder. It was clear to me I think that she did know right from wrong."

Rothschild said, "Prozac does not cause homicides. It is the field's opinion, the FDA's opinion, but also my opinion." He referenced a study that reported there is no evidence that Prozac increases violence and depression. "A large cause of suicide risk in depression is depression itself," Rothschild said.

Rothschild also recounted Bustamante's 2009 interrogation with Missouri State Highway Patrol officer David Rice, who testified Monday. Rothschild said of the interview, "I saw a woman who was cooperative. She gave answers that made sense. She was not psychotic, not manic. She seemed to comprehend the questions. She was in touch with reality." He said the 40 mg dosage of Prozac Bustamante was on when she murdered Elizabeth Olten was not a high dosage for a 15-year-old.

The defense called up a counselor and registered nurse who work at Bustamante's high school. A different nurse who conduced a body graph of Bustamante in Nov. 2011 detailed the hundreds of self-incised scars she found on Bustamante's body and described detailed pictures of these scars to the judge. One particular scar that Bustamante carved with metal from a spiral notebook--a mark on her left arm that reads "Hate."

As of the noontime lunch break, the defense had three witnesses left to testify, including two doctors. Attorneys indicated testimony will conclude Tuesday, as scheduled, and the judge could impose her sentence after closing statements. Bustamante faces 10 to 30 years or life in prison with parole.

Neither Bustamante herself, nor her mother Michelle--who is sitting in court--are on the defense's official witness list for Tuesday.

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