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DAY FOUR: John Hernandez Felix, the accused Palm Springs police killer, is back in court again.
#ICYMI: Here's a recap of the trial so far (1/2). And you can follow today's tweet in the thread below:
#ICYMI: (2/2) Watch a brief recap of the trial so far and what we could see today in court.
My full tweet thread for the day updating below:
Prosecutors pick back up where they left off Thursday - questioning Dr. Jennifer Bosch, their own witness, a clinical and forensic psychologist.
She recalls that while she evaluated Felix, he told her what he remembers from the night he allegedly shot and killed the two cops. He says the dispute started a fight with his sister of a television remote control. At some point his mother called the police...
Dr. Bosch says Felix said he has no memory of the behavior he engaged in following the argument over the remote -- zero recollection of the shooting. HE remembers waking up on the ground with smoke in the room. He had been hit in the back by something.
He was dragged out of the room, brought to the hospital and then brought to jail where he met with his attorneys for the first time and was made aware for the first that that he had allegedly murdered two officers.
Dr. Bosch says though Felix failed a high school course exit exam, he wasn't very far off from passing it. He never passed English and didn't receive a diploma. There are inconsistencies in his scores, she says.
As for his failures when it comes to past jobs, Felix takes responsibility for them, Dr. Bosch says. He admits drug use got in the way -- after using meth, he became paranoid that co-workers were talking about him and out to get him.
In high school, Bosch says, Felix started becoming depressed. He was never treated by a psychologist and since becoming incarcerated, he suffers depression and anxiety - completely normal, she says, for someone in his situation.
Dr. Bosch says in the report of one of the defense's expert witnesses, that of Dr. Chalgujian, she doesn't say he's depressed. Bosch says this is inconsistent with her diagnosis and Felix's own self reporting.
Bosch says neither of the defense's expert witnesses diagnosed him with intellectual disability. They described learning disabilities and other deficits but not intellectual disability, which she says is equivalent to mental retardation, and is what the defense needs to prove.
Dr. Bosch says Felix's mother said he did well in school, getting A's and B's, helped with groceries and got presents for her, he participated in church, and she knew little of his incarceration history. She didn't indicate any issues with intellectual deficits or mental health.
Felix's mother said his favorite subject was math and he enjoyed reading. She also described him as a provider -- buying groceries and gifts. She said he had empathy for her and understood when his behavior was inappropriate.
Bosch says after reviewing thousands of pages of Felix's records and conducting her own professional analysis: Felix *does not* meet the criteria for intellectual disability.
Everyday skills: he can cook, he can grocery shop, he can drive a car, he can take public transportation, he can obtain a job and get paid, at one point he used that paycheck to buy food/gifts, he asked his parents for money to get out of jail and felt guilty about it...
Bosch says he was successful and practical. She says 2/3 doctors found him competent to stand trial - important - and that no one during any of his incarcerations ever called into question his competency. She makes the case he is competent and capable of advocating for himself.
He manipulated tests, Bosch says, and knew enough to manipulate the system. She says he knew it was important to let her know he had memory problems and an attention deficit, and he was not forthcoming about his gang involvement. He understands what he needed to lie about.
There are inconsistencies in his academic performance -- Freshman year of high school, Felix's GPA was 1.9. His first semester of senior year, he gets around a 2.29. Math skills are a strength - he passed the exit exam. His reading is at a 7th grade level. He writes letters.
Dr. Bosch is making the case he's CAPABLE. He can read and write for all intents and purposes, he can fill out forms and advocate for his health - ask for prescriptions and money...
He has auditory and processing deficits -- but they're NOT LOW ENOUGH to meet criteria and impact his functioning in everyday society -- to carry out societal norms that we all engage in.
With auditory processing issues, it takes longer for people to learn things but they CAN master it with time. It isn't an ability issue, it just takes longer, Bosch says.
Felix is a man who was able to hold down a job for 1-1.5 years as an adolescent...something Bosch says her own children couldn't do! He understands what he needs to do and is capable of doing it.
Court breaks
Mr. Dolan, defense attorney for Felix, has started cross-examining Dr. Bosch.
"Two tests that I gave clearly indicated that Felix was malingering," Bosch says to Dolan...firm that he is feigning test results.
Dr. Bosch reminds the court of a malingering test she administered, where she held up photos to a glass window, in which she says he intentionally answered questions inaccurately.
Mr. Dolan starts to question Bosch about Felix not wearing glasses during the malingering test -- ie: he did so poorly because he couldn't see -- and she says he got a 25%...much lower than chance. Even if he couldn't see, which she made sure he could, his score should be higher.
Dolan asks Bosch if it's correct that Felix has never had sexual relations...seems to backfire when Bosch says he had a girlfriend for two weeks, and about seven hook-ups, or sexual relations with seven people.
Bosch says it's a deficit for sure that he has an auditory processing disorder -- but it's just not enough to be intellectually disabled.
In regards to the inconsistencies in his grades, Bosch says Felix's deficits are definitive -- but it has to do with motivation. When he feels like being present and trying, vs. when he doesnt. Bosch is excused subject to recall, and court breaks for lunch.
The People call their next witness -- Manuel Ortiz -- state parole agent for CA Dept. of Corrections. He supervises parolees and assist in their 3-year transition back into the community.
Ortiz has been with a gang task force for many years. He has documentation identifying Felix as a member of the gang "VPG."
Felix was Ortiz's parolee since 2012. "(Felix)'s case did kinda stand out," Ortiz said.
During Ortiz's 2.5-year period supervising him as a parolee, Felix had several violations. He used a GPS tracking device on Felix during his parole.
From GPS ankle bracelet data, Ortiz observed Felix going to casinos, a movie theater, Zelda's nightclub, a library, parks, different apartment complexes and houses, Cathedral City, a job in La Quinta....mostly on the west side of the valley, west of Jefferson.
Felix and his father had a dispute with PSPD and expressed their concerns about it to Ortiz. At the time, he was in violation of his parole for resisting arrest, his second violation.
Two officers suffered scratches, bruises and abrasions from the incident, and pepper spray was necessary to contain the defendant in the fight with police officers.
Felix had a defiance of authority, the parole officer says. He always had a negative attitude toward police.
Defense opts not to question the parole officer. He's excused, subject to recall.
Prosecutors call their third witness, Sheryl Deeds, a PSUSD school psychologist.
She's worked primarily at PSHS - and other nearby schools.
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