Post by SoulTrainOz on Jun 19, 2006 22:57:47 GMT -5
Tennessee couple's death penalty trial begins in killing of SC man.
(Greenville-AP) June 19, 2006 - The widow of a Greenville businessman whose body was found in a freezer with his face wrapped in duct tape says she knew right away something had happened to him when he failed to show for a meeting.
Cathy thingyman testified in Greenville Monday that it was out of character for her husband, Jim thingyman, not to show up as expected.
In opening arguments, prosecutor Bob Arial said photos showing thingyman wrapped in duct tape from his collar to his eyes will show the couple charged in his death meant to kill him.
Arial said 36-year-old David Wendell Edens and 28-year-old Annette Holloway knew thingyman was going to suffocate.
The Tennessee couple could face the death penalty if found guilty on charges of murder and kidnapping in the 2004 incident.
Edens' attorney however says his client only planned to steal thingyman's vehicle. Attorney John Mauldin said it was a poorly planned car theft that went wrong.
thingyman left his home on September 14th, 2004, to meet a couple interested in buying his 1999 Suburban. His body was found nine days later in a freezer in Sevierville, Tennessee.
Post by SoulTrainOz on Jun 28, 2006 20:17:32 GMT -5
After nearly 7 hours of deliberation Tuesday, jurors deciding the fate of a Tennessee couple convicted of kidnapping and murdering a South Carolina businessman have been sent back to their hotel after asking to rehear some testimony.
The jury began deliberating just after 2 p.m. whether Jennifer Holloway, 29, and her common-law husband, David Wendell Edens, 36, should be sentenced to life in prison without parole or death for killing Jim thingyman who suffocated nearly 2 years ago after his head was wrapped in duct tape.
Around 8:30 p.m., jurors asked Judge John C. Hayes III if they could rehear some of the testimony. What the jury wanted repeated was not specified.
The request would take some time to fulfill, so Hayes decided to send the jury back to the hotel they have been sequestered in.
Attorneys will meet with the judge and the court reporter early Wednesday morning to prepare the testimony before jurors return at 9:30 a.m.
The same Greenville County jury convicted the couple of kidnapping and murder Friday.
Before the jury received the case, family members of the Tennessee couple pleaded with jurors to spare their lives.
But prosecutor Bob Ariail told jurors that the death penalty was necessary because of the brutal way the 71-year-old former Sara Lee executive suffocated.
"When you hear pleas for mercy, you ask, what mercy did they show Jim thingyman, when they wrapped his head," Ariail said.
The couple lured thingyman from his Upstate home Sept. 14, 2004, on the premise they wanted to buy a vehicle he was selling.
thingyman's body was found in a freezer in the couple's hometown of Sevierville, Tenn. His head was still wrapped in tape.
Ariail told jurors that he understands it is difficult to sentence a person to die, but "there are certain people in this world who do not deserve to continue to live on this earth with the rest of us."
Before testimony began Tuesday, Holloway waived her right to make a statement to jurors. Edens, who has been absent from the courtroom during most of the trial, did not appear again Tuesday.
Edens' attorney reminded jurors that his client is human.
"I despair, because it would seem pretty easy to put an empty chair to death," attorney John Mauldin said. "I just hope that the fact that he hasn't been here will not impair your ability to keep in mind what a sentence of death actually means."
During his nearly 40-minute closing, one of Holloway's attorneys told jurors about her troubled life, including an early pregnancy ended as her mother and others pressured her into an abortion, family drug problems and abusive boyfriends. "This is a battered woman," Hank Ehlies said.
Ehlies also reminded jurors of testimony that intense pressure had been applied to thingyman's head as the tape was wrapped around it. "Do you think this 125-pound girl did all that?" he asked.
On Monday, several defense witnesses said Holloway had a series of abusive boyfriends, including Edens, who bullied her into the crime.
Holloway's mother, Brenda Harris, also told jurors her daughter struggled during childhood with a father who did not love her.
Holloway got pregnant when she was young, and was persuaded into having an abortion, Harris said.
"Jennifer had the abortion and she still blames herself to this day. And that really was the start to Jennifer not liking herself," said Harris, who held back tears as she apologized to her daughter from the stand.
Edens' sister testified that he "had a real good family life" despite their parents' divorce in 1980.
Becoming tearful on the stand, she asked jurors to have mercy on her brother.
"I know that in my heart Jennifer and David know right from wrong," she said. "I'm very sorry that this has happened."
She also took a moment to address the victim's widow, Cathy thingyman.
"I want to send my regards to Mrs. thingyman about her loss, her and her family," she said. But, considering given her brother's absence from the family since his arrest, thingyman's family and friends "are not the only ones that have lost."