Thursday, April 5, 2018

The Final Defense Witness

There is some sensitive content and disturbing details included within. If you feel you may be affected, please do not read this post.

 Dr. Frumkin was the final witness for the defense. He is a clinical and forensic psychologist. His main office is in South Miami. He specializes in disputed confessions. This is when someone partially confesses and then retracts the confession. he was paid $390 an hour to testify and had been paid $130,000 to date to conduct interviews accessing Noor Salman.

He spoke of a college study in which students were told to write their papers on a certain computer and warned that if they pressed the alt key, the computer would crash. A remote system was set up so that the computer could be crashed remotely. When asked about the crashes, students would often confess. In another study, students would have three interviews with researchers and the idea that the student committed a felony as a child was planted into the discussion. Students would begin to accept this altered history. The Dr. noted that the average interrogation is 1.5 hours. Any interrogation over 3 hours is excessive. Noor Salman was interrogated for over 11 hours.

Frumkin has a test which gauges how a subject yields to untrue facts. He called this the yield shift sustainability score. In his talks with Noor, he found her to have odd thinking. She was alienated, self conscious and introverted. Her emotions were all over the place, like a yo-yo as she put it. She suffered from auditory hallucinations, hearing banging sounds and smelling the cologne from her deceased grandfather. She is anxious in a room alone and obsessively scratches her arms. She is anxious when she eats around other people. She calls her son every day at 3 p.m.

He said that Noor is more accommodating that 90% of the population and that she is more anxious than 96% of the population. She is also 90% more deferential and submissive than most people. The Wexler intelligence scale rated her at 4 with an IQ of 84 meaning that 86% of people are brighter than her and that she is in the lower 14 percentile range. The college Noor attended was a for profit institution and it was shut down because the institution lied about the placements of grads in the workplace.

The Reed Technique of interrogation was used on Noor Salman by the FBI. Officers at first accept denials and minimize the seriousness of the offense. Te technique is used to get facts from guilty suspects but it can also elicit false confessions from someone who is eager to please and susceptible to coercion. The interrogation escalated into confrontation and a refusal to allow denials. Step 9 of the process is writing down confessions of the suspect and having them initial those documents.

The Dr. stresses the Noor is more likely to give a false confession because of her mental illness, anxiety and the fact that she isn't very bright. Sleep deprivation makes one more susceptible and Noor was suffering from menstrual cramps when her was being interrogated.

Sarah Sweeney of the prosecution cross examined the Dr. She wanted to know more about the GSS test which is designed to access susceptibility and suggestibility. He admitted that as intelligence goes up, the susceptibility to yield went down. Sarah noted that Noor was removed from a special ed class in 5th grade because of her academic progress. When discussing Noor's obsessive compulsive disorder, Sarah showed a photo from Noors home of her dresser. It was covered with lots of brightly colored baubles. She asked the doctor if she moved an object on that dresser, a half inch would Noor notice? He claimed she would. I believe she was trying to prove that an obsessive compulsive person wouldn't live in such chaos, but to me she proved the opposite. According to the Dr. Noor fully denied knowing what was going to happen but then "gave in" when an officer refused too believe her. She tried to give the officers what they wanted so she could get home to her son.

Another stipulation of testimony was read to the jury by the defense. It was by Pulse security guard Neal Whittleton who describing a short conversation with Mateen minutes before the attack began.
Matten said to him, “Hey, why is it so slow tonight? Where are all the girls at?” That was an odd statement making it seem like Omar had no idea he was in a gay club. Whittleton walked away from him and over to a DJ booth. He said he could feel someone staring at him and looked up to see it was Mateen. “You’re security, right?”  “I see you here all the time.” Mateen said. Whittleton did not recognize Mateen. “He was trying to see if I had a gun on me,” Whittleton later realized. “I had no idea that he was the shooter.”

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