Dueling experts kept the seat in a Georgia witness box warm for the better part of seven hours Thursday over the likelihood of Stewart Parnell having Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD. Parnell, the former chief executive officer for the now-defunct Peanut Corporation of America (PCA), was present with his wife and two daughters in the federal courtroom in Albany, GA, to hear two experts debate whether he has a mental condition usually associated with children. He is somewhat lighter and less jowly looking than the Stewart Parnell who, in 2009, invoked his Fifth-Amendment right not to testify when called before Congress during the deadly outbreak of Salmonella that was traced back to PCA. After that outbreak resulted in nine deaths and 700 illnesses, a four-year federal probe led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) resulted in a stunning federal grand jury indictment that accuses Parnell and three others with a broad array of fraud and conspiracy charges, in addition to putting adulterated food into interstate commerce. The jury trial is scheduled for this summer. Parnell wants to use Dr. Joseph C. Conley, Jr., as an expert witness. Conley is a clinical psychologist who has diagnosed Parnell as having ADHD. Conley claims to have made 8,000 to 10,000 ADHD diagnoses over the course of his career. At the Thursday hearing, however, government prosecutors countered with Professor David J. Schretlen, a board-certified psychiatrist and frequent expert witness from the Department of Psychiatry faculty at Johns Hopkins University. “I don’t think it (Conley’s diagnosis) is the product of reliable principles and methods,” Schretlen testified. He said failure to collect school or medical records and not interview anyone outside Parnell’s immediate family were weaknesses in his technique. Schretlen also said he reviewed the underlying data from a battery of 40 tests Conley gave Parnell. In only one was Parnell’s result out of the normal range, according to Schretlen. Parnell’s ADHD status was further complicated by a new version of the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders” (DSM 5) that has come out since he began the evaluations with Conley. Both sides finally agreed that the only real change in DSM 5 from the earlier version is that ADHD symptoms can surface anytime up to age 12. The earlier cutoff was seven. In both the new and old version, it is recognized that ADHD may extend into adulthood. This was a so-called “Daubert” hearing for presenting evidence on whether someone should be admitted as an expert witness at trial. Judge W. Louis Sands agreed to a request by lawyers for both Parnell and the government to allow closing briefs to be prepared after the transcript is prepared by court staff. Also in the courtroom was Mary Wilkerson, the former PCA quality-control manager, who faces the lightest charges of the four executives: two counts of obstruction of justice. Sands had excused the other defendants from attending the “Daubert” hearing. Two defendants, Michael Parnell (Stewart Parnell’s brother) and Samuel Lightsey took advantage of being excused and did not attend. Michael Parnell was a PCA vice president and peanut broker, while Lightsey ran the PCA peanut processing plant in Blakely, GA. Each side had a “zinger” during the day-long testimony. The government presented information on a time when Conley’s license to practice was placed on probationary status for the way he depicted a non-client in a divorce proceeding. And Parnell’s attorney, E. Scott Austin of Roanoke, VA-based Gentry, Locke, Rakes, & Moore, pointed out the irony that, while Schretlen was hired by the federal government to question the validity of Parnell’s ADHD diagnosis, the Federal Aviation Administration (FDA) clearly accepts it as fact and has already revoked Stewart Parnell’s private pilot’s license as a result.