State questions doctor’s methods as defense rests in Bart Johnson’s trial

Published 5:59 pm Tuesday, May 10, 2011

By BRAD GASKINS / Staff Writer

COLUMBIANA – State prosecutors this afternoon questioned the methods of a Florida neuropsychologist.

Earlier Tuesday, Dr. Charles Golden, called by the defense in Bart Johnson’s capital murder trial, testified that Johnson has two mental illnesses – multiple personality disorder and brief psychotic disorder.

During cross-examination by Assistant District Attorney Gordon Ladner, it was revealed that Golden has testified 30 times in several states for defendants in capital murder trials.

Golden has testified for five capital murder defendants in Alabama. Ladner said all five were on death row, and Golden clarified that some of those five cases were appeals following a death sentence.

Ladner said Golden has testified once before in a capital murder case in Shelby County. Golden evaluated Eugene Clemons and testified at the trial, though Golden said he couldn’t remember specifics of that case. Ladner said Golden’s analysis was ruled not credible by the judge in that case.

During earlier testimony in Johnson’s case, Golden referenced the video of the shooting. During Ladner’s cross-examination, it was revealed that Golden had not seen the tape at the time he wrote his report, though he had read the transcript.

Golden said he never talked to state investigators in performing his evaluation of Johnson, nor did he talk to any of Johnson’s coworkers. Golden said he never talked to Johnson’s primary physician, who had treated Johnson since childhood and was the last doctor – in 2007 – to prescribe migraine medication to Johnson.

Dr. Albert Smith earlier testified that Johnson had never mentioned any anxiety or depression-related issues.

The defense rested Tuesday afternoon after abruptly ending questioning of its sleep deprivation witness, Dr. Robert Noelker from Kentucky.

Prosecutors constantly objected to defense attorney Charles Salvagio’s questions to Noelker.

Judge Al Crowson ruled Salvagio had to ask hypothetical questions only to Noelker, who had never seen Johnson until walking past him to the witness stand.