Thursday, March 31, 2011

Jason Bush is a paranoid schizophrenic

The Pima County Superior Court jury charged with deciding if convicted double murderer Jason Eugene Bush should spend the rest of his life in prison or be put to death was told, Thursday, that he is a paranoid schizophrenic.

Last Friday, the jury returned guilty verdicts on two counts of first-degree murder in the May 30, 2009 deaths of Raul “Junior” Flores and his daughter, Brisenia, 9, at their home in Arivaca. The jury further found that the murders were premeditated and were also committed while Bush was engaged in other felony activities, including the attempted first-degree murder of Gina Marie Gonzalez; 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.

Following that the jury confirmed that aggravating factors existed which make Bush eligible for the death penalty in this case.

Quantitative EEG

Test results for Bush
Dr. B. Robert Crago, clinical director of Neurobehavioral Health Services in Tucson, performed a quantitative EEG, on Bush prior to the start of the trial.

A quantitative EEG is a test which is a scientifically established method for evaluating brain function based on brain electrical activity mapping. “The test is called a quantitative EEG,” Crago testified. “An EEG is a measure of the brain's electrical activity. It's performed by putting some electrodes on the scalp and recording that discharge from the brain.”

Crago takes the data recorded from the EEG and performs an analysis using a computer. He began his explanation with a look at a graphic displaying 19 channels of electrical activity from Bush's brain. “This is what a sample of that data would look like. Each one of those is one second of data,” Crago said, referring to a projection of data in the courtroom. “We took that data and compared it to what we call norms. It is a measure of brain electrical activity that is quantified and compared to an objective database to tell us just how deviant or not so deviant it is.”

Crago told the jury that he was asked to evaluate Bush by another psychologist and by his lawyer. “In Mr. Bush's case I was asked to decide if there was any evidence of abnormalities and if so what would they be consistent with,” he testified. “The impression was, that first of all, this is a very deviant EEG. The test cannot say that he is paranoid schizophrenic. The test can only say deviant.”

Paranoid schizophrenia

Crago suggested that paranoid schizophrenia is different from schizophrenia. “These people are sometimes highly organized. Their thinking rather than being loose and disorganized is actually overly rigid and tight,” he explained. “They're not flexible. They tend to have very black and white views of the world. Paranoids are the ones that tend to get missed in clinical interviews.”

Deputy County Attorney Rick Unklesbay challenged the use of the quantitative EEG as the “gold standard” for determining brain abnormalities. “The reality is that it is the most reliable, the most specific test out there because it is objective,” Crago testified.

Crago admitted that he did not request the data from previous EEG tests given to Bush years ago. Those tests had been interpreted as being “normal” at the time they were administered. “You are comparing an x-ray to an MRI,” Crago suggested. “His brain is not normal. It's sluggish. It's disconnected.”