Death and dismemberment trial opens with gruesome testimony

By Josh Verges and Chuck Baldwin

A jury of 13 women and two men this morning heard a gruesome outline
from the state’s case against Daphne Wright.

Minnehaha County State’s Attorney Dave Nelson said Wright kidnapped
Darlene VanderGiesen on Feb. 1, cut up her body with a chainsaw on
Feb. 3, then hugged VanderGiesen’s mother in consolation on Feb. 4.

VanderGiesen was friends with Wright’s girlfriend, Sallie Collins.
Police say Wright killed VanderGiesen out of jealousy.

When VanderGiesen was reported missing, Collins joined family and
friends at VanderGiesen’s apartment and brought Wright along.

“Within hours of disposing of VanderGiesen’s remains the night
before, this defendant embraced Darlene’s mother, hugged her, said
she was sorry that her daughter was missing and told Darlene’s mother
that she would pray for her return.”

Nelson also revealed the contents of evidence found in a Dumpster.

In the Dumpster was “Darlene’s legs. Cut off at the knees. Also
included in this load of trash was her pelvis, from the knee to the

Nelson wraps up quietly, noting that parts of VanderGiesen’s body had
been burned, apparently in an effort to disfigure or disguise it.

He asks for a guilty verdict.

Family members and friends cry as they walk out for a break.

Minnehaha County Public Defender Traci Smith will make her opening
statements after the break.

The trial opened with a half-empty courtroom. The row reserved for
Wright’s family was unoccupied.

(( Source:  Argus Leader ))

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