Doctor says Bonnstetter was likely sleepwalking

Dr. Rosalind Cartwright believes Mark Bonnstetter was sleepwalking when he entered a neighbor’s home during the early morning of Nov. 25, 2006.

“My opinion is yes, he was,” Cartwright told the jury on whether Bonnstetter was sleepwalking.

Cartwright and Dr. Donald Greeley testified Friday. Bonnstetter, the associate athletic director of operations and head athletic trainer at Eastern, was charged with criminal trespass to a residence, a class 4 felony; residential burglary, a class 1 felony; and attempted criminal sexual abuse, a class A misdemeanor.

Cartwright, who recently retired from Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, said Bonnstetter could not have thought about the repercussions of his actions while in the neighbor’s home and could not have had a mental thought process or motivation to plan his actions while in the neighbor’s home.

Cartwright, however, examined Bonnstetter after a June 2007 medical referral. She said she formed her opinion based off diagnostic tests of Bonnstetter and interviews from Bonnstetter and his wife, Lori Bonnstetter, about the alleged incident.

Cartwright used a polysomnogram test to monitor Bonnstetter’s sleeping habits at her lab.

She said on the night of the testing, Bonnstetter woke up too many times during sleeping and did not reach stage four of sleeping. Stage four of sleeping is a deeper sleep.

“It’s a very aroused, poor night of sleep,” she said.

Cartwright added Bonnstetter kept waking up and falling back to sleep.

She said Bonnstetter’s sleep is unstable, especially when he gets to a deep sleep.

“He is not a deep sleeper,” Cartwright said.

She said the lack of deep sleep is a characteristic of a sleep disorder, but added that is not a definitive factor.

During a different test, Cartwright said Bonnstetter had abnormal delta waves during the four stages of sleep. Delta waves are slow brain waves that lead to a deep sleep.

The test used on Bonnstetter allows for comparisons of delta waves between the patient, healthy sleepers and frequent sleepwalkers.

Cartwright said healthy sleepers have high delta waves in the beginning of sleeping and the waves gradually decrease toward the end of the night.

Frequent sleepwalkers have low delta waves at the beginning of the night, but the waves become more normal toward the end of the night, she said. Cartwright added that because frequent sleepwalkers have low delta waves during the early cycles of sleep, they are more susceptible to arousals.

Bonnstetter’s results showed his delta waves were lower than the average of frequent sleepwalkers, Cartwright said. She added deep sleep is important to a healthy sleep.

After these tests, she concluded Bonnstetter was a sleepwalker because the tests are a reliable marker to diagnose sleepwalking and provides hard data, Cartwright said.

During cross-examination, Cartwright said a sleepwalker’s actual behavior during an episode gives insight on what is going through the sleepwalker’s mind.

Cartwright also characterizes certain sleepwalkers differently. She said some sleepwalkers act as a caretaker and others act as a procreator.

She said Bonnstetter acts as a caretaker while sleepwalking and not a procreator and would not expect Bonnstetter to act sexually in future sleepwalking episodes.

Cartwright said she formed her opinion about the early morning of Nov. 25, 2006, based on what Bonnstetter told her.

From her understanding, Bonnstetter was considerably awake during the late morning of Nov. 25, 2006, she said.

Assistant State’s Attorney Mick McAvoy said Bonnstetter testified to waking up on the floor of his neighbor’s bedroom during the early morning of Nov. 25, 2006.

Cartwright said this does not surprise her because Bonnstetter could have been in an aroused state on the neighbor’s bedroom floor, but still in a sleepwalking episode.

She added Bonnstetter could have stayed in this state for a while and the arousal state can be very confusing for an individual.

Cartwright said Bonnstetter either told her or she deduced that he had no memory of allegedly fondling his neighbor, but he could remember what he did leading up to entering the bedroom.

During defense attorney Raipher Pellegrino’s re-direct, Cartwright said there was doubt in Bonnstetter’s recount of the alleged incident.

“It’s very difficult to say because it’s full with hypothetical statements,” she said of Bonnstetter’s re-collection of that night.

Cartwright mentioned Bonnstetter could have been incorporating what he was told afterwards about the alleged incident into his memory.

Timeline: The trial of Mark Bonnstetter

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Dr. Donald Greeley, of the Carle Clinic in Urbana, also testified that he thought Bonnstetter was sleepwalking during the early morning of Nov. 25, 2006.

“I really felt as a result of my questioning . the night in question was a sleepwalking incident,” he said.

Greeley said he believed Bonnstetter was trying to fill the gaps in his memory of the alleged incident when recounting it to Greeley.

Greeley said Bonnstetter described to him numerous episodes of waking up in the night and doing unusual things.

The defense rested its case Friday. The state will call a rebuttal witness today when the trial resumes at 10 a.m. in the Coles County Courthouse.

– Sports Editor Scott Richey contributed to this report.

Stephen Di Benedetto can be reached at 581-7942 or at [email protected].