Bart Johnson has two mental illnesses, defense expert testifies

Published 12:21 pm Tuesday, May 10, 2011

By BRAD GASKINS / Staff Writer

COLUMBIANA – Bart Johnson has at least two mental disorders, a defense witness testified Tuesday morning.

Johnson, accused of shooting and killing a Pelham police officer, pleaded not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect.

Dr. Charles J. Golden testified that Johnson has a multiple personality disorder and an acute psychotic disorder.

“You can’t look outside of Bart and see that,” said Golden, a professor of psychology at Florida’s Nova Southeastern University.

Golden also has a private practice and is licensed in Florida and Alabama. Golden said he’s been practicing since 1975, has published more than 30 books and 300 articles, has given 500 to 1,000 presentations at national conferences and testified “several hundred” times in court.

“This is a mental illness,” Golden said of Johnson’s condition, “there is no doubt in my mind whatsoever.”

Golden said his diagnosis of Johnson was made after visiting with Johnson twice for a total of 10 hours. The first meeting was Jan. 31, 2011. The second was about two weeks ago.

Johnson scored well – or at least average – on most of the administered tests, Golden said. He performed poorly when given the Rorschach ink blot test, Golden said, adding that the ink blot test is “harder to manipulate” than other tests.

“You can’t give the right answer because you don’t know what it is,” Golden said. “Bart reacted very strongly to this test.”

Johnson made jokes and was visibly anxious and upset during the ink blot test, Golden said.

“The way he (Johnson) sees the world is distorted by his own lenses,” Golden said.

While the tests were administered to Johnson while in jail, Johnson’s past history backs up the test results, Golden testified.

“Individuals like this are very hard to identify in real life unless they complain,” Golden said, stating Johnson never complained but kept issues internal.

Golden was still being questioned by the defense when court recessed for lunch. Testimony resumes at 1:15 p.m.