A man accused of having involvement in a gruesome murder on Fort Ord in 2004 might not have been aware of his actions due to a head injury he sustained the day before, said a neurologist.
Dr. Arthur Kowell testified that there was indeed a high probability that a skull fracture that Allen Dalton had suffered in a pistol-whipping on April 15th had left him with a severe concussion or brain contusion that caused amnesia that Dalt is now claims in regard to the murder of Apineru “Chico” Sua.
On Monday Dalton testified he has no recollection of the events that happened on April 16, 2004, when Sua was stabbed over 40 times and dumped between two abandoned buildings on a former Army base.
Dalton’s defense attorney hopes to prove that his responsibility in the murder was diminished due to his head injury, which precipitated Sua’s murder.
Kowell, a teaches and practices neurology at the University of California – Los Angeles, said memory loss is amongst the common symptoms of people that suffer from a brain injury.
As with other head-trauma victims, Kowell said, Dalton could have appeared to be conscious but have been essentially unaware of his actions and what he was doing.
“You can have a patient who appears to be stoned, he can be standing up, cardiopulmonary functioning, walking and talking, but he may not be with the program, so to speak,” he said, noting that he’s seen cases where subjects suffered severe gunshot wounds to the head and still drove cars for some distance.
Such was the case with Dalton, Kowell testified. While he is believed to have driven Sua to Fort Ord, where Sua was stabbed to death by an accomplice, Dalton was not completely cognizant.
“In terms of whether he was functioning cognitively,” Kowell said, “I think he was not, but to what degree, I’m not sure.”