By Lou Raguse
The jury in the Sioux Falls trial of a deaf woman has started deliberating whether to sentence her to life in prison or death by lethal injection.
The same jurors convicted 43-year-old Daphne Wright last week of kidnapping and murdering 42-year-old Darlene VanderGiesen, another deaf woman.
Prosecutors say Wright was jealous of the friendship VanderGiesen had with Wright’s former lover and it led her to kill VanderGiesen and cut, burn and dismember the body.
In closing arguments, the state’s attorney told jurors the mutilation shows that Wright had the depravity of mind required for capital punishment.
“You have to remember what the defendant did to Darlene,” State’s Attorney Dave Nelson said. “The pictures (of VanderGiesen’s body) provide a window through which you can look into the defendant’s mind. And just what kind of mind is capable, what kind of depravity is required for that abuse and destruction and demolition of Darlene’s body?”
One of the defense lawyers argued Wright burned and cut up the body only to get it out of the basement and not because of a depraved mind.
“Ask yourself, is the act the result of a deprived mind or a panicked mind?” public defender Jeff Larson asked jurors. “Do you really think the body was dismembered for some perverse pleasure? Or because she couldn’t figure out a way to get a 200-pound body out of the basement?”
If the jurors decide Wright had a depraved mind, they vote a second time. That vote determines whether Wright gets the lethal injection or life in prison.
Larson closed by telling jurors life in prison with no one to communicate with should be enough punishment for the deaf woman.
Nelson closed by telling the jury Wright charged, tried, convicted, and sentenced VanderGiesen to death for her perceived interference in Wright’s relationship. Nelson says Wright shouldn’t get a lesser sentence.
(( Source:Â KELOLAND TV ))