Aron has alter ego, doctor testifies She tried suicide so 2nd personality would live, he says

March 14, 1998|By Candus Thomson | Candus Thomson,SUN STAFF

Ruthann Aron tried to kill herself before her arrest last summer, a doctor testified in Aron's murder-for-hire trial, because she wanted to let a repressed alternative personality live.

During yesterday's cross-examination of Dr. Jonathan Pincus, prosecutor I. Matthew Campbell asked about an evaluation that discovered the presence of a second personality, or alter ego, in Aron.

Pincus, a neurologist at Georgetown University Medical Center, said a colleague found Aron's alter ego, named Alex Andrus. The second personality was never evident to Pincus, but he concurred with the other doctor's finding.

Andrus was the name Aron used to obtain information about creating a new identity and the name she used on a $76.45 money order to pay for books on handgun silencers from Paladin Press.

Aron also used the name Alex when she checked into Suburban Hospital's psychiatric ward after her arrest.

The former Potomac businesswoman and unsuccessful U.S. Senate candidate is being tried on charges that she hired a hit man in an unsuccessful attempt to kill her husband and another man. Her lawyers concede that she did it but say her mental illness prevented her from knowing that what she did was wrong.

Pincus said he believes Aron was not criminally responsible because of brain abnormalities that prevented her from making decisions and functioning normally.

"She did not have the capacity to fully understand her conduct," he said.

In the 11th day of testimony, Campbell again played a taped conversation between Aron and the undercover police officer who posed as a hit man. The prosecutor asked the doctor to point out sections where Aron sounded befuddled.

"Very obviously, she is planning a hit," Pincus said after listening to his patient discussing the down payment, spelling out the name of one of her victims and discussing how the murder would be carried out.

Pincus went on to talk about "the stupidity of a smart woman" who did bizarre things leading up to her arrest.

Her choice of go-between, a former Rockville trash hauler with a history of confrontations with county officials, proved impaired judgment, he said.

Campbell countered that choosing an "unsavory" character would have been useful if the plot had been discovered early and it boiled down to a "he said, she said" situation.

Pub Date: 3/14/98

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