Experts differ on Loya’s mental state – News –

4 witnesses offer varying diagnoses of murder defendant.

BARNSTABLE — Mental health experts offered dueling diagnoses Thursday in the murder trial of Adrian Loya, each identifying different illnesses or disorders he may have had when he killed 31-year-old Lisa Trubnikova.

Loya, 33, is charged in an elaborately planned Feb. 5, 2015, attack that targeted Trubnikova, a fellow Coast Guard officer, whom he accused of making sexual advances that led to disciplinary action against him. He also shot and wounded Trubnikova’s wife, Anna, and Bourne police Officer Jared MacDonald in the rampage at a Monument Beach condominium complex.

His mental state at the time is the core of his defense. His attorney, Drew Segadelli, does not dispute the charges but argues Loya carried out the attack because a mental disease or defect prevented him from appreciating the wrongfulness of the offenses or conforming his conduct to the law. The prosecution seeks to prove he was sane at the time.

Four expert witnesses have testified in Barnstable Superior Court in the last two days about Loya’s mental health, and although two agreed on his criminal responsibility, in all they have offered four differing opinions of his condition.

Dr. Judith Edersheim, a forensic psychiatrist hired by the Cape and Islands District Attorney’s Office, testified Thursday that she believed Loya understood the wrongfulness of his actions and was able to conform to the law. Edersheim, who said she has been paid more than $37,000 for her 90 hours of work on the case but did not meet with Loya personally, diagnosed him with avoidant personality disorder and borderline personality disorder, which she said are pervasive and would affect all aspects of who he is as a person.

The disorders would make him hypersensitive to rejection and constantly be on the lookout for others trying to harm or slight him, she said. The 250-page memoir he wrote before the attack, his documentation of plans and interviews with police, however, provide evidence that he knew what he was doing was wrong and was able to control himself, she said.

John Daignault, a forensic psychologist hired by Segadelli, was the first defense witness called after the prosecution rested its case. Daignault, who has spent 42 hours with Loya since his arrest, has the opinion that Loya was unable to appreciate the wrongfulness of his actions and was not able to conform to the requirements of the law because of a delusional disorder, a major depression and schizoid personality disorder.

Click here to see an interactive timeline of the Loya trial

His delusion included that he was “mentally raped” through a sexual advance Lisa Trubnikova allegedly made in September 2012 and that killing her would be righting the “injustice” done to him by her and by the Coast Guard, which disciplined him for his actions that night. Loya became obsessed with the incident in the months that followed, became “unhinged” and believed “justice is not going to be done” unless he carried it out himself, Daignault testified.

Justice, in Loya’s mind, was Lisa’s death, Daignault said.

Loya also believed the Coast Guard was monitoring him online and had gone undercover and infiltrated Bridgewater State Hospital, where he has been held since his arrest, Daignault said. He also imagined his dead dog curled up at the end of his bed and pictured a black X marked on Lisa Trubnikova’s face during the killing, he said.

Edersheim, however, said there was no evidence that Loya suffered from a delusion, which she defined as a “fixed false belief.”

There was “nothing delusional about his motive,” Edersheim said.

Edersheim said her conclusion was generally in line with what David Holtzen, a psychologist at the Bridgewater hospital who testified Wednesday and Thursday, had found. In the three hours Holtzen spent evaluating Loya, he determined that Loya had major depressive disorder but could be held responsible for the rampage.

During cross-examination Thursday, Segadelli pointed out that Holtzen did not review a significant amount of evidence, including Loya’s memoir, four hours of police interviews, his 20-page email to Lisa Trubnikova or a video he filmed of himself having a panic attack.

“If I had other documents to review, my opinion might change,” Holtzen said of Loya’s criminal responsibility.

Another psychiatrist who testified for the prosecution Wednesday, Dr. Martin Kelly, gave a conflicting opinion to Edersheim’s and said Loya has high-functioning Asperger’s syndrome and at the time of the killing was suffering from a delusion that made him think of himself as a “tragic hero” in the battle between good and evil.

Kelly interviewed Loya three times and spent nine hours with him.

Edersheim said Loya did not have a “rigid moral code,” as Kelly found, or problems with language or motor skills, which are signs of Asperger’s syndrome.

As examples, Edersheim noted a 2008 incident in which Loya was arrested for driving drunk, an instance when he smacked the buttocks of a woman on a dance floor in Mexico and later urinated on a car, and housing violations he received in the military.

Edersheim said Loya made it clear in the memoir he wrote before the attack, titled “Loya Wars,” that he knew an actual assault or rape had not occurred, calling it a “rape of his mind.”

Also in the memoir, Loya said he was “proud” of having had sex with more than 10 women because he did not think he was “appealing,” Edersheim said. Loya was “fixated” on what others thought of him, she said.

Being shy or awkward does not mean someone is on the autism spectrum, Edersheim said.

This behavior also contradicts a diagnosis of schizoid personality disorder, which Loya himself was convinced he had, she said.

Daignault, however, said that no matter what mental disorder someone suffers from, all of its symptoms will not be present 100 percent of the time.

“In all mental disorders, we’re all human beings first,” Daignault said, “Nothing in human nature is absolute.”

For this reason, it is not surprising that Loya would attend parties, coach a swim team or volunteer to be Santa on the military base, Daignault said.

On the morning when Loya stormed his way into the Trubnikovas’ bedroom, with the initial plan to use a knife to kill Lisa, there was a moment where he nearly stopped, Daignault said.

After confronting Lisa, Loya believed that he had completed his “mission” of avenging her assault by merely scaring her, but then he saw a cellphone being used and fired a “warning shot” into the mattress, Daignault said.

The sound of the gunshot frightened him, because he felt as if he was “losing control” of his mission, so he ended up firing 15 shots into the mattress, Daignault said. Eleven shots struck Lisa and four struck Anna.

When asked by Segadelli about the significance of Loya playing theme music from “Star Wars,” “Batman” and James Bond movies from a boombox outside the Trubnikovas’ home before trying to draw fire from responding police officers so they would kill him, Daignault said, “Yeah, it’s crazy.”

Jurors viewed a portion of body camera footage in which Loya filmed the rampage. There was no audio and the screen was out of view to the media.

Judge Gary Nickerson told jurors he expected them to begin their deliberations by midday Friday.

 — Follow Haven Orecchio-Egresitz on Twitter: @HavenCCT.

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