Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Forensic neuropsychologist testifies that Forde suffers from brain damage

A forensic neuropsychologist hired by the defense team for convicted double murderer Shawna Forde testified, Wednesday, that Forde had told him she has a top role in the next presidential election.

A Pima County Superior Court jury found, Monday, that Forde was guilty of two counts of first-degree murder, the attempted first-degree murder of Gina Gonzalez, the wife of Raul Flores and mother of Brisenia Flores, as well as one count of burglary in the first-degree; one count of aggravated assault, serious physical injury; one count of aggravated assault, deadly weapon/dangerous instrument; one count of armed robbery; and one count of aggravated armed robbery. Tuesday the jury found that Forde was eligible for the death penalty on the two first-degree murder counts.

Presidential politics

Dr. James P. Sullivan
Dr. James P. Sullivan testified, Wednesday, that Forde told him during a clinical interview that she would be helping Arizona’s governor get elected to the highest office in the land. “She told me she was going to be the lead person in Jan Brewer’s campaign for president of the United States,” he testified.

“In your report you indicated that her history was complete with exaggerations and embellishments,” asked Deputy County Attorney Rick Unklesbay, during cross-examination.

“She said things to me that didn’t sound true and trustworthy,” Sullivan replied. “It’s called a personality dysfunction.”

“She was willing to portray herself as something she wasn’t,” Unklesbay asked.

“Her attitude was that you’re wasting your time,” Sullivan said. “I’m a genius.”


Sullivan had, earlier, testified that he had met with Forde four times for almost 12 hours in preparing his report. Besides conducting a clinical interview Sullivan gave Forde a number of tests. He said that prior to his involvement in the case, Forde’s intelligence quotient (IQ) was placed at 86 in the 18th percentile. “Out of 100 people in Ms. Forde’s age group 82 would do better than her,” Sullivan testified.

Sullivan also testified that Forde’s verbal IQ was 93 in the 32nd percentile and that her performance IQ was 88 in the 21st percentile. Sullivan said the percentile rankings have “to do with relative standing in the rest of the population.” At age 4-5 when she was adopted, Forde’s IQ was calculated at 116.

Sullivan was asked if someone could fake an IQ test. “I probably could,” he told defense attorney Eric Larsen. Larsen asked if he could fake an IQ test. “No,” was Sullivan’s answer.

Unklesbay told Sullivan that the jury would hear a recorded jail phone call later this week in which Forde brags to a friend that she faked the IQ test. During that call Forde claimed her IQ was actually 132. “I wouldn’t buy that,” Sullivan commented. “Her ego is much more important to her than anything else.”

Poor judgement

Sullivan said Forde was not capable of evaluating or judging the talents of not only herself but others. “She’s a poor judge of herself and her own abilities,” he said. “People like that are unable to judge others.”

The jury asked Sullivan if any of the tests he gave to Forde could show if she is able to tell right from wrong. “None of the tests have anything to do with telling right from wrong,” he testified.
Pool photos courtesy of Jonathon LeFaive