GRAND JUNCTION, Colo (KREX) — Last week Forensic Psychologist, Dr. Laura Serrano-Amerigo, who works not guilty because of insanity cases, testified about her face-to-face sanity evaluation with Cohee back in May 2022. She told prosecutors Cohee does not meet the legal standard of insanity at the time of the murder.
The defense called licensed Psychologist, Dr. Paul Spragg to the stand for a second opinion. The clinical psychologist with more than 3 decades of experience diagnosed Cohee with major depressive disorder with psychotic features and says Cohee was not legally sane at the time of the murder. Spragg says a combination of Cohee’s increasing stress, lack of medication controlling unwanted thoughts, lack of support services, isolation from the pandemic, family conflict, and losing the beloved family dog in February 2021 created the psychosis for Cohee making the murder of Warren Barnes inevitable.
The prosecution challenged Dr. Spragg’s testimony by pointing out Cohee was dressed to kill the night of the murder, took and then deleted photos of the murder scene, and deleted a calendar entry on his phone titled, “1st.”
Dr. Spragg was dismissed, the defense rested, and then the prosecution called Dr. Thomas Gray to follow up where Dr. Serrano left off. Dr. Gray is the director of training for forensic psychologists since the program started in 2006 and worked on Cohee’s sanity assessment with Dr. Serrano. The board-certified forensic psychologist one of 365 in the country told prosecutors Cohee’s diagnoses don’t matter. The point is Cohee indicated at the time of the murder through the evidence he was quite capable of telling right from wrong. He reminded the defense the purpose of the court-ordered sanity evaluation is to find if Cohee possesses functional capabilities to commit the murder even with mental disorders.
Closing arguments have concluded in the People V Brian Cohee, and now the fate of Cohee is in the jury’s hands.