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Defense must provide more details of memory expert's testimony in Dunn County homicide case

Defense must provide more details of memory expert's testimony in Dunn County homicide case


More information must be provided to the prosecution regarding an expert opinion, Dunn County Judge James Peterson said Friday during a motion hearing for a Stanley women accused of stabbing an Eau Claire man.

Ezra J. McCandless, 21, is charged with first-degree intentional homicide-use of a dangerous weapon in the death of Alexander L. Woodworth, 24. She is pleading not guilty.

Authorities found Woodworth dead in a vehicle in the town of Spring Brook on March 23, 2018.

McCandless’ attorneys have argued Woodworth attacked McCandless in the car on March 22, and she stabbed him in self-defense.

A motion was made by prosecutors Friday to preclude testimony from a Massachusetts psychologist who is to testify regarding the effects of trauma on memory.

Peterson requested the defense provide more detailed information and a summary of facts provided to the psychologist on which he will rely on in making his expert opinion. The expert will provide his opinion whether statements made by McCandless following the incident are consistent with trauma. Prosecution asked to know more about how the expert will apply science to the case.

The defense must also provide prosecutors with information on whether the expert will testify on only trauma on dates surrounding the incident or of cumulative trauma caused by events in previous years.

One of McCandless' attorneys, Aaron Nelson, said they aren't required by law to provide this information and they gave prosecution proper notice along with video of the expert testifying in previous cases. Memory is relevant to the case, Nelson said, and expert opinion of the physiologist is warranted.

Wisconsin Assistant Attorney General Richard DuFour said the expert can't just speak about how memories are impacted by instances of trauma, he would need to connect his expertise to the case and the prosecution felt the defense wasn't providing an explanation of why the psychologist is testifying.

Other motions regarding the inclusion of evidence in the upcoming trial were also brought before the judge but they were each tabled for the next hearing, which is scheduled for Oct. 7.

The trial is set to start Oct. 14 and is scheduled to last up to three weeks.


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