Attorneys for Aita Gurung finished presenting their case to jurors Tuesday in the trial of the Burlington man accused of killing his wife and seriously wounding his mother-in-law in 2017.
Defense witness Gregory Tomasulo, a psychologist who evaluated Gurung after he fatally attacked Yogeswari Khadka and her mother with a meat-cleaver, said Gurung had conflicting thoughts, and admitted feeling guilty for the killing. Under cross examination, Tomasulo said Gurung reported what he called “command hallucinations.
“They were very profound, telling him to do things he felt compelled to do,” he said.
Gurung’s defense team argues that he was insane at the time of the October 2017 attack. They have also presented evidence of Gurung’s history of psychiatric care, including his release from care just hours before the fatal attack.
Prosecutors say Gurung abused Khadka and killed her because she had displeased him. During rebuttal, prosecutors asked Burlington Police Detective Nicole Moyer to recall Gurung’s demeanor when he was taken into custody. She said he seemed calm.
“He spoke very low, and was able to answer any questions I asked of him,” Detective Moyer noted. “He wasn’t in a heightened state, he wasn’t sweating, he wasn’t speaking in a manner that I couldn’t understand what he was saying.”
The day’s final witness was forensic psychiatrist Dr. Catherine Lewis, who disputed the claim that Gurung was insane when he attacked his wife and her mother. She said Gurung “the attack was based on rage.”
“It is my opinion that he appreciated the criminality of his conduct when he killed Yogeswari,” Lewis said. “He did not lack the capacity to conform his conduct when he attacked his wife.”