MANASSAS, Va. - Lorena Bobbitt acted on "an impulse of anger" and was in control of herself when she cut off her husband's penis, a psychologist testified today.
Evan Nelson, named by the court to interview Lorena Bobbitt, contradicted her claim that she was seized by an irresistible impulse when she attacked John Bobbitt on June 23.
Lorena Bobbitt said years of physical and sexual abuse drove her into mental illness. She said she acted after her husband returned home drunk and raped her. Her lawyers are trying to prove she is innocent because of temporary insanity.
Nelson said that in the weeks leading to the attack, Lorena Bobbitt showed signs of coming to grips with violence in her marriage.
"What's happening is that she's starting to get strong, she's starting to get more control of her life," Nelson said.
Nelson disputed testimony by a defense psychiatrist that Lorena Bobbitt was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder at the time she cut her husband. He said she suffers from that now but that her statements to authorities in the weeks after the attack showed no indication of flashbacks of abuse that she said she experienced at the time of the severing.
Nelson said Lorena Bobbitt suffers from severe depression. But he rejected the defense's chief contention that she had a "brief reactive psychosis" when she cut off the penis with a kitchen knife.
"It's certainly a goal-directed behavior," he said. "It's not a
random type of thing."
Yesterday, state psychologist Henry O. Gwaltney Jr. said Lorena Bobbitt was a battered woman who had good reason to fear her husband, but was in control when she decided to cut off his penis.
A former co-worker testified yesterday that Lorena Bobbitt talked about cutting off her husband's penis.
Connie James said in 1990 she and Lorena Bobbitt discussed what they would do if their husbands cheated. James said she jokingly suggested that she would kill her husband.
"I asked Lorena what she'd do. Lorena stated, `I would cut his (penis) off. That would hurt him more than just killing him,' " she said.
Lorena Bobbitt testified last week that she never made such a statement, and denied it again today during a brief reappearance on the witness stand. The case was expected to go to the jury later today after closing arguments.