The Accident And Cry For Help On The Public Streets Of Clearwater: Lisa Consents To A Psychiatric Evaluation
Prior to the occurrence to the McPherson motor vehicle accident of November 18, 1995, Lisa was already incarcerated at the Ft. Harrison Hotel on an Isolation Watch according to the hotel records. That first day hotel record ended shortly before 3:00 p.m., approximately three hours before her 6:00 p.m. car accident.
Bonita Portolano, a paramedic, observed a "little crash" while returning with her partner in their ambulance from another call. Thirty-six year old Lisa McPherson was involved in the little crash. (Portolano Deposition at 9:10-10:10; 27:16-28:5) Portolano approached McPherson to obtain a refusal of treatment because McPherson, although "a little shaken," was uninjured. (Portolano Deposition at 16:17-18:23) Lisa's demeanor was "odd" inasmuch as she employed a"programmed type of speech pattern" and with her "big brown eyes" would "look straight at you - she wouldn't blink." (Portolano Deposition at 19:5-19:25)
When Portolano told Lisa that she had to move her car for the police and then she needed to speak with her further, Lisa agreed, even though she appeared to be a "nervous wreck" who was going to cause another accident just parking. (Portolano Deposition at 20:2-21:2)
Shortly thereafter, Lisa took off her clothes and "comes walking down the driver's side of the ambulance in the middle of the road, no shoes, no socks, nothing on. And she didn't stop at the ambulance. She just continued walking." (Portolano Deposition at 43:12-21)
Portolano immediately was "out the door because, number one, I don't want another accident because there's this beautiful girl walking down the street with no clothes on." (Portolano Deposition at 46:20-47:1)
While getting her inside the ambulance, Portolano asked "Lisa, what are you doing? What are you doing with no clothes on?" Lisa responded that she wanted people to think she was crazy because she wanted people to help her. When Portolano observed "Lisa, you don't have any clothes on" she responded, "I don't need a body. I'm an O.T." (Portolano Deposition at 47:9-19) Two or three times Lisa explained that she took her clothes off because "I wanted help. I wanted help." (Portolano Deposition at 48:1-44)
She was a "very healthy person, just voluptuous," "well-formed" and "full-figured girl" who weighed about 155 pounds. (Portolano Deposition at 31:5-16; 48:24-49:1; 98:19-22) She was a "very fair complected" and "very attractive woman" who had no markings on her body whatsoever. (Portolano Deposition at 84:3-6; 131:12-13) Lisa was very athletic, "well proportioned" and at 150 pounds, "firm and fully packaged." (Goldsberry-Weber at 120:1-122:7)
Portolano wanted to take Lisa to Morton plant for a psychiatric evaluation because "somebody that would take off their clothes and asks for help deserves at least to be evaluated." (Portolano Deposition at 53:6-9) Speaking to Lisa for over half an hour, Portolano observed more oddities in her demeanor. (Portolano Deposition at 52:7) While lying on the stretcher with her eyes closed in the ambulance Lisa would not respond to simple questions. Then when Portolano would direct her to open her eyes and say I need to ask you a question, Lisa would say in a "very programmed" way "I'll answer anything I can" or "I don't know the answer to that. Ask me in a minute. Can you ask me later." (Portolano Deposition at 53:20-51:16)
When Portolano inquired whether Lisa was a Scientologist, she gave her "a little programmed look and says 'Yes, I am'" in a "real monotone" way. (Portolano Deposition at 58:4-13) She had a "fixed stare," sounded "robotic" and was "something like you would see on a sci-fi movie." (Portolano Deposition at 80:2-4; 114:3-10) Aside from what her demeanor conveyed when she spoke of the Church of Scientology - which had a "certain limit" that Bonia Portolano "couldn't get past" - Lisa had a "very sweet demeanor about her." (Portolano Deposition at 102:5-8; 117:17-23; 132:17-18)
During the conversation, Portolano kept trying to ascertain from Lisa what was wrong to which Lisa gave partial responses: 'I'm a bad person. I'm a bad person.' And so I would ask questions to get into why she felt she was a bad person, and she said it was because she had been doing bad things that she didn't know were bad. She found out that people at her church told her that evidently what she was doing was bad.
And she said, 'But I didn't know. I didn't know it was wrong.' And she would get a little upset - really upset about guilt. And she had a lot of guilt, I guess, and she had a lot of remorse like she let either people down or herself down. I couldn't - it was more of an internal kind of thing . . .
I tried to get specifics, and the only specific thing I could really draw out of her is one of the bad things she did was she took her 'eyes off the object.'
Again I have no idea what that means. But that was very, very important to her that she didn't know that she wasn't supposed to take her 'eyes off the object' and that she had taken her 'eyes off the object.' She felt really, really bad and she had done something really wrong and it made her a bad person." (Portolano Deposition at 59:2-15)
Lisa said that the help that she needed was "I just need someone to talk to. . . . I want to talk to someone. I need help. I want to talk." (Portolano Deposition at 60:19-61:4) Lisa wanted to continue talking to Bonita Portolano and never asked to be taken to the Church of Scientology. Lisa finally agreed to go to Morton Plant Hospital after being explicitly advised that the purpose was for a psychiatric evaluation. (Portolano Deposition at 61:8-64:11; 107:13-108:7)
Lisa never expressed any unwillingness to be psychiatrically examined or any reservation about psychiatrists. (Portolano Deposition at 108:7-12)
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