Every day of this trial, Phillip Scott Fournier, dressed in a gray suit, shuffles to the defendant's table because his feet are shackled.
Wednesday morning, Fournier sat at that table listening as a neuro-psychologist described how the accused murderer was affected by a severe traumatic brain injury.
The testimony of Robert Riley was the cornerstone of the defense based on the opening statement given by Fournier's attorney. The defense attorneys claim a brain injury caused Fournier to develop adopted memories. They said that's why his numerous confessions are disjointed and inconsistent.
On cross examination, the prosecution got the doctor to agree that parts of Fournier's confessions contained facts which hadn't been released publicly at the time.
Fournier sustained the traumatic brain injury in the early morning hours of the Saturday after murder victim Joyce McLain went missing. He received the injuries after crashing a stolen fuel truck. That accident left him in a coma for eight days.
The doctor testified brain injury victims often create adopted memories to fill gaps in their memories. Riley conducted memory tests on Fournier last September at the Cumberland County Jail.
The Augusta-based doctor testified Fournier's psychological and emotional health would "Give me some pause in considering the accuracy of the statements."
However, the prosecutor brought Riley's attention to reports from other doctors citing Fournier's steady improvement.