Will She Die?

By Don Jorgensen

Will she be put to death?

Only the jurors in the Daphne Wright murder trial know the answer to that question.

They’ll have the weekend to think about it, but come Tuesday, they will decide if Wright will spend the rest of her life in prison or die by lethal injection for killing Darlene Vandergiesen.

In the early 90’s, then Lincoln County state’s attorney Jeff Masten prosecuted Donald Moeller. He also convinced a jury, Moeller deserved to die, because he tortured 9 year old Becky O’connell when he killed her.

“He just butchered that little girl, she was alive when he did it,” said Masten.

The prosecution in the Daphne Wright case will need to prove one of 10 aggravating circumstances in order to get a death penalty.

Masten feels there is only one the state will even have a chance of proving.

“That it was done in a cruel and unusual a vile manner, involving torture or aggravating,” said Masten.

But Masten says the defense will argue Darlene Vandergiesen didn’t suffer when she was killed, because the dismemberment happened after she died and was a cover-up to the crime.
Will the jury show compassion for Wright because she’s a female? Not according to Masten.

“Given the makeup of this jury 11 women and one man I think the fact she’s a woman doesn’t help. In my experiences, that kind of a jury can be pretty critical of the behavior of other women,” said Masten.

But Masten says the jury shouldn’t focus on any of that.

“It’s the nature of the crime that wipes away any that’s she’s deaf, minority and female, it’s irrelevant, I’m pretty certain given the fact this is a South Dakota jury that those people are focused in on what happened,” said Masten.

Both sides will get one chance to argue for and against the death penalty. They could call witnesses, including Daphne Wright, who could make a plea to the jury to spare her her life.

(( Source: KELOLAND TV ))

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