It was a big day in court Thursday in the trial of former Shelby County medical examiner O.C. Smith.
We've said this is an unusual case. Here's what happened Thursday. It's something that almost never happens, a U.S. Attorney on the stand being questioned by another U.S. Attorney and a defense attorney.
Prosecutors called Terry Harris, the U.S. Attorney in Memphis to the stand. He testified O.C. Smith became a suspect after he talked with ATF agents and after several other aspects in D.C. who had investigated the case. Harris also said there were a lot of other things about Smith's story that didn't add up. For the first time jurors heard how Smith could have tied himself to the bars outside the regional forensic center. ATF agent Michael Roland testified he went to the spot Smith was found and took a bicycle cable like the one Smith was tied with and tied himself to the bars. He said he did it twice. Roland testified he didn't wrap himself in barbed wire because he didn't want to.
Prosecutors also called a nationally known and controversial psychiatrist to testify. Dr. Park Dietz had a lot of interesting things to say about a mental disorder he believes Smith suffers from.
O.C. Smith left the court room after listening to testimony from Dietz, a psychiatrist who has testified and examined people in very high profile cases across the country. Defense attorneys spent very little time questioning Dietz.
Jerry Easter, Smith's attorney said, "I didn't see anything I thought even merited cross examination. It was a wonderful school lecture and now the jury and everybody else knows a lot more about what ever that psycho babble was they knew before and I appreciate the lecture, it was kind of expensive $32,000."
That's what the government paid Dietz to testify. Dietz testified about a long list of psychological disorders involving false reports of crimes, the last one factitious victimization involving people who stage a crime involving themselves to get attention. Dietz was not allowed to say Smith has the disorder because he has never examined Smith. Outside the courtroom Dietz said he believes Smith does suffer from the disorder.
Dietz said, "It is important for the jury to look at the various stories Dr. Smith has told over the years, stories to make himself sound like a combatant where he wasn't, to fill his aura of daring that's the sort of thing one would expect in an individual who stages a crime."