Nursing Home Trial Continues with Dramatic Testimony

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Prosecution witnesses have testified this week with heartbreaking detail about a troubled marriage. We are returning, once again, to the trial of the man who killed eight people at the nursing home where his estranged wife worked. The trial is being held in Carthage, a little over an hour south of Raleigh.

Early in the week, the defendant’s ex-wife took the stand. She told a story of two rocky marriages to the defendant. The first marriage, in the early ’80s, lasted a year and a half. The two met again about 11 years ago, started dating and remarried.

She told the court that the relationship had its tumultuous times — including episodes of violence. But, she added, there were good times, too.

Thursday, her son from another marriage took the stand. He talked about the last time his mother left the defendant — about two weeks before the shootings.

He said his mother moved back in with her parents in the middle of March 2009. The defendant called so many times, and late at night, that she took the phone off the hook. After that, the young man continued, the defendant began to call his mother’s friends and other members of her family, hoping they could convince her to meet with him.

During those calls, the son reported, the defendant said he needed to talk to his wife because he had cancer. It was an emergency, he allegedly said.

The son described a marriage that was bad enough to drive him out of the house. He moved in with his father. In time, his mother began to call him weekly; he said she was usually crying or upset.

The jury will hear the defense’s side next week, barring unforeseen delays.

Source: News & Observer, “Ex-wife’s son describes harrowing relationship,” Michael Zennie, Aug. 19, 2011