The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Local News

March 6, 2014

VIDEO: Closing arguments expected today

Defense rests, prosecution concludes rebuttal in Jeremy James Lambert murder trial

BECKLEY — A jury will soon decide the fate of Jeremy James Lambert, who is on trial for the stabbing death of 25-year-old Cyan Maroney in October 2011.

STORY CONTINUES BELOW VIDEO ...

The defense rested its case Wednesday morning and the prosecution concluded its rebuttal in the afternoon.

Raleigh County Prosecuting Attorney Kristen Keller’s first rebuttal witness was Dr. Jennifer Osborne, 30, of Charlottesville, Va., who testified about her relationship with Lambert during high school and college.

The two met at Wyoming East High School; Lambert was 17 and Osborne was 15. She said they became boyfriend and girlfriend, but she said Lambert told her that his mother did not like her, so they kept their relationship private.

She said Lambert came to pick her up one day, which was unplanned. He wanted her to “run away with him to Florida,” Osborne said, but she told him it wasn’t right and they should stay and finish high school.

When she looked in the back of his car, she saw a gun and a baseball bat. “He said he would not be afraid to use it,” but Osborne said he didn’t specify which object.

Their relationship ended after that incident, but after Lambert’s return from his Kuwait deployment, Osborne said the two ran into each other at the mall.

“He seemed to be more mature. I thought he had gotten rid of the negativity in high school that made him lash out like he did,” she said.

Osborne said she and her mother had planned a trip to Pittsburgh for a concert and Lambert asked if he could join them.

They allowed him to come, but during the concert, Osborne said Lambert would leave periodically and return with a drink. By the end of the night, she said he was “drunk” and “very angry.”

She told him their relationship was over and he could either ride back home with them, or find another way. His anger escalated at that point, she said, and he punched out a mirror and a taillight of another car.

When they finally got him in their car, Osborne said he put his arm around her neck from behind the car seat and began choking her.

“I told him we were done and that he needed help … He was angry, very angry.”

She said he began calling her so frequently that she asked him to stop, but he eventually started calling her parents. During one call to her mother, he said he had hepatitis C and he hoped he had given it to her daughter and he hoped she died.

Someone called to warn Osborne that he was coming to her Morgantown apartment with a gun, and she said Lambert did show up later with a gun strapped to his hip, which she saw through the door’s peephole.

She said he banged on her door and said he just wanted to talk. She wouldn’t let him in, so he said, “You stupid b****, you’re going to talk to me,” she said.

She told him she was going to call the police if he didn’t leave her alone.

Keller asked Osborne, who is a pulmonary critical care fellow at the University of Virginia Hospital, if she has treated any post-traumatic stress disorder patients.

Osborne said yes she has treated PTSD patients, but from what she saw, Lambert did not display PTSD symptoms.

Keller then called Chad Weaver and Shawn Jarrell, who were deployed with Lambert to Kuwait. Both of them roomed with Lambert while in Kuwait, and even lived with him for a while after their return home.

Weaver and Jarrell confirmed there were no Iraqi Scud missile attacks on their base, nor did they ever see any combat-related trauma or injuries.

“I wouldn’t describe anything as traumatic,” Weaver said.

Keller asked him about Lambert’s mood when he drank alcohol after they returned home; he said, “At times … he would get moody and sometimes violent.”

Weaver and Jarrell were the friends Lambert referenced who took him to a VA hospital when he said he was having suicidal thoughts.

Jarrell agreed that their time in Kuwait was “definitely not traumatically stressful.”

He said that Lambert’s suicidal thoughts “didn’t have anything to do with Kuwait,” he was having “girl trouble.”

During the afternoon session, psychologist Dr. Gregory Bowland was called to testify about Lambert’s pre-employment psychological evaluation for the Beckley Police Department.

Bowland said his default assumption is that the applicant is mentally stable or they wouldn’t have made it so far in the hiring process.

Lambert was 24 when he applied to the BPD, and did not report any type of psychological problems, including PTSD symptoms, paranoia, sleep issues or lack of appetite, according to Bowland.

In his report, Keller said Bowland described Lambert’s mood as “cheerful” during the interview.

The report said Lambert “appears to be happy with his life and optimistic for the future.”

Bowland said his testing did not suggest there would be any type of employment problems.

Defense co-counsel Mary Dyer asked if this test is limited; Bowland said yes, and he noted that he only spent about 30 minutes with Lambert.

Keller asked Bowland if an applicant could easily lie about answers to try to pass the test. Bowland said the test is designed to recognize if someone is trying to falsify answers, and Lambert’s “reliability scales” were well within normal limits.

Beckley Police Cpl. Jamie Blume was called as the next witness, as he and Lambert were sworn in at the police department on the same day.

He described the application process to become an officer, which he said can take up to a year. During this time, prospective officers’ backgrounds are checked, psychological evaluations are performed and they learn more about the functions of the job.

Blume said in the group of eight officers who were sworn in, six of them had prior military experience; he also noted that Lambert never talked about having PTSD.

When they were sent to the West Virginia State Police Academy, Blume said Lambert was there maybe an hour or two before asking him for the keys to go home.

The officers encouraged Lambert to stay, Blume said, telling him he only had to stay until Friday and then they could go home for the weekend.

“He was determined to leave,” Blume said. “He said, ‘Man, I been through this sh*t before, I’m not going through it again.’”

Lambert then told Blume he would fight him for the keys if necessary.

The prosecution’s final rebuttal witness was clinical and forensic psychologist Dr. David Clayman.

Clayman was court-ordered to provide his testimony in this case.

He said he has been dealing with PTSD patients before it was even labeled as such, and he has treated many military, law enforcement and first responders who suffer with the disorder.

Keller asked him to provide an example of what he could clinically classify as traumatic.

He noted several examples, including a survivor of the Oklahoma City bombing and an officer who had a gun held to his head, but the gun misfired when the trigger was pulled.

Keller asked him if a diagnosis depends on the information a patient provides.

Clayman said there is a very big difference between evaluating a patient on a clinical level and a forensic level; for clinical evaluations, there is “basic trust,” but for a forensic evaluation, there is a “basic distrust.”

“You don’t take the person at face value,” Clayman said.

In Lambert’s case, Clayman said there have been significant symptom “exaggerations.”

After a nearly four-hour interview and a full day of psychological testing, Clayman said he believed Lambert “had the capacity to make those decisions.”

“He does have problems, but they do not affect his capacity to form intent to kill.”

Clayman also noted that Lambert’s purchase of the knife, sitting in his car for nearly an hour, then driving over to Maroney’s house was “enough capacity to form a plan.”

Lambert suffers from three personality disorders, antisocial, narcissistic and borderline, according to Clayman’s evaluation, which he said is Lambert’s “predominant problem.”

None of these disorders, however, would negate Lambert’s capacity to form intent to kill or premeditate a murder, Clayman said.

The jury was dismissed after the conclusion of the rebuttal; the prosecution and the defense remained to discuss jury instructions.

Closing arguments are expected today, and the trial will resume at 9:30 a.m.

— E-mail: wholdren@register-herald.com

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