Experts disagree in Bangor stabbing trial

David Archer is escorted back to Penobscot County Jail after his appearance Monday in 3rd District Court in Bangor. Archer is accused of stabbing his former girlfriend on April 26.  BANGOR DAILY NEWS FILE PHOTO BY JOHN CLARKE RUSS
BDN
David Archer is escorted back to Penobscot County Jail after his appearance Monday in 3rd District Court in Bangor. Archer is accused of stabbing his former girlfriend on April 26. BANGOR DAILY NEWS FILE PHOTO BY JOHN CLARKE RUSS
Posted Jan. 14, 2010, at 8:28 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — A local psychiatrist testified Thursday that David Archer’s state of mind was “abnormal” when he stabbed his ex-girlfriend twice in the abdomen nearly two years ago outside a Hudson Street apartment in Bangor.

“With all the drugs he had in his system,” Dr. Epiphanes Balian told the jury, “the defendant definitely was intoxicated at the time of the events.”

Dr. Daniel Filene, the Portland psychiatrist who testified for the prosecution later in the day, disagreed as the trial concluded its third day at Penobscot Judicial Center.

Archer is charged with attempted murder, elevated aggravated assault and aggravated assault.

If convicted of attempted murder or elevated aggravated assault, he faces up to 30 years in prison. If convicted of aggravated assault, he faces up to 10 years in prison.

To find him guilty of attempted murder, the jurors must conclude that Archer intended to kill his ex-girlfriend when he stabbed her.

Balian told the jury that Archer had not slept for several days leading up to the incident. He also said the defendant’s lack of sleep — combined with his use of cocaine, the prescription drugs he had abused and his normal methadone dose — meant his brain was not functioning normally at the time of the stabbing.

The psychiatrist for the defense also testified that the drugs exacerbated Archer’s poor impulse control.

But Filene told the jury that being intoxicated on drugs or alcohol does not mean a person is unable to form intent.

“[Archer] definitely was capable of acting in a conscious, goal-directed way on April 26, 2008,” the doctor said. “His overall behavior pattern that day shows he had the ability to act intentionally.”

Filene pointed to the fact that Archer spoke to others that day, including his mother, about his conflict with the victim and his feelings about the breakup. He also went to a place where he knew she would be, the doctor said.

His ex-girlfriend and the friends she was staying with at the Hudson Street apartment all testified earlier in the week that Archer tried to speak with the victim when they were at the methadone clinic at Acadia Hospital the morning of the stabbing. The defendant also went to the apartment and said he wanted to speak with her, the victim and others told the jury.

Archer’s mother, Robin Goodness, 54, of Brewer, testified Wednesday that her son came to her house the afternoon of the stabbing. She told the jury that he played with two knives while he was there and said that if he saw his ex-girlfriend with another man, he would kill her.

Darrel Archer, 61, of Olema, Calif., the defendant’s father, told the jury Thursday that his ex-wife is not “a truthful person.” He also testified that his son does not have a reputation among family members for being violent.

Before the trial convened for the third day, a friend of Archer’s, Crystal Doucette, 29, of Bangor, was arrested inside the courthouse on two warrants out of Penobscot County. Both warrants charged that last month she had failed to appear on theft charges at the same courthouse where Archer’s trial is being held.

The trial will resume Tuesday when David Archer is expected to take the stand.

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