FARMINGTON — John Mayes' upcoming murder trial is expected to last eight days and the evidence presented to the jury is expected to range from the effects of a rare behavioral disorder to the premier of a James Bond movie.
Mayes, the 19-year-old son of Farmington City Manager Rob Mayes, was arrested in June 2011 on suspicion of beating Dr. James Nordstrom to death and stealing the 55-year-old man's vehicle and wallet. His trial is scheduled to start Nov. 13 in Gallup.
Prosecutors said it was a cold-blooded case of first-degree murder. Defense attorneys said their client was protecting himself and was influenced by a behavioral disorder.
Stephen Taylor and Jeffrey Buckels, Mayes' attorneys, plan to call psychologist Gary White, and Maxann Schwartz, a forensic psychologist. Court documents state White will testify that Mayes suffers from "reactive attachment disorder," or RAD.
RAD is a lifelong condition that can happen to people who were neglected, abused or orphaned as children, according to the Mayo Clinic. People with the disorder often seek out attention in strangers but become aggressive when shown emotion, according to court documents.
John Mayes was adopted from the Ukraine.
Schwartz will testify that Mayes' statements during the preliminary hearing -- where he said he attacked Nordstrom in response to the doctor's unwanted sexual advance -- are consistent with a person who has the social disorder, according to court documents.
Birdsall said Schwartz could speak in general terms about Mayes' condition.
"I wasn't going to let her testify about which version of events was truthful or untruthful," Birdsall said during a pretrial hearing on Tuesday. "I wasn't going to let her draw any conclusions about what did or didn't happen in actuality because of that diagnosis."
Chief Deputy District Attorney Brent Capshaw said he will call Dr. Christopher Alexander to testify about RAD. It wasn't clear what position the prosecution's expert will take.
Charles Honts, a psychologist at Boise State University, gave Mayes a polygraph and Mayes' attorneys plan to call Honts as a witness at trial, according to the defense witness list.
Prosecutors said they have a scathing opinion from a U.S. magistrate judge prohibiting Honts from testifying in a murder trial in Atlanta and may reference the opinion during cross examination.
In that opinion, which was issued in October 2005, Judge Janet King said "the court attributes little weight to Dr. Hont's opinions."
"I think if (Honts) gets carried away in puffing himself up, then (the federal judge's opinion) could be used to deflate him back down a little," Capshaw said.
Buckels argued the opinion is hearsay and would be prejudicial to the jury.
"If he gets up there and represents that he's the Brad Pitt of polygraphy, and then your argument would be that a federal judge wasn't impressed?" Birdsall asked Capshaw during Tuesday's hearing.
Birdsall ruled on Tuesday that the circumstances of Honts' testimony would establish whether the opinion could be referenced. Capshaw agreed prosecutors would call for a side bar conversation with the judge before bringing up the opinion.
Mayes is expected to admit at trial that he killed Nordstrom. But he provided two starkly different accounts of the events that lead to the doctor's death, according to court documents.
Mayes made five statements to investigators over two days following his arrest on June 10, 2011, according to a motion filed by his attorneys.
Based on those statements, an affidavit for Mayes' arrest states that Mayes admitted he broke into the doctor's home in the Farmington Foothills neighborhood and waited in the doctor's bedroom for an hour. When Nordstrom entered the room, Mayes allegedly beat him to death with the thick-end of a pool cue stick and then stole the doctor's truck and credit cards, according to the affidavit.
Mayes told a different story at his August 2011 preliminary hearing.
At the hearing he said he met Nordstrom while the doctor was washing his car outside his home. Mayes asked for a place to stay for the night and the doctor agreed.
Mayes said during that hearing that they watched the James Bond movie "Quantum of Solace." He said they watched it "on regular television," Capshaw said.
Mayes said after the movie they shot pool and Nordstrom took his shirt off and asked if the Mayes wanted to "try something new," which prompted the attack, according to court documents.
Capshaw said in court Tuesday he can discredit Mayes second version of the events. "Quantum of Solace" didn't make its network television debut until a week after Mayes' arrest, he said. And DIRECTV representatives said Nordstrom never ordered the film on pay-per-view.
Mayes' attorneys said in court documents they will show the film was available on demand as early as April 2009. Capshaw said he's waiting for television records to prove they could not have watched the movie.
"I guess it's going to come down to a 'Quantum of Solace' battle," Birdsall said.Ryan Boetel covers crime for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4644 and firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @rboetel on Twitter.