Graphic Testimony, Emotional Atmosphere On First Day Of Laney Trial - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

03/29/04 - Tyler

Graphic Testimony, Emotional Atmosphere On First Day Of Laney Trial

The first words in opening statements were by District Attorney Matt Bingham. He started by apologizing to the jury for the pictures, crime scene video, and evidence they were about to see.

"I'm not trying to inappropriately shock you with the graphic nature of the evidence, but I have my burden to meet," Bingham said.

Proving the horrible crime is for the prosecution.

Proving insanity is on the defense.

And the eight men and four women of the jury must decide that for themselves. Opening statements focused on the senselessness of the crime.

Defense attorney Buck Files: "You will hear there was no motive of any type and no explanation, for what she did other than legal insanity."

Bingham: "The last thing that Joshua and Luke ever saw on this Earth was their mom with a rock over their heads. And the last thing they ever felt was that rock crashed on their head."

Deanna's husband Keith listened and sometimes wept as the details were read.

Bingham: "The defendant perceives Luke is still breathing, and she takes a rock and puts it on his chest in an attempt to stop his breathing."

"Why" is the question.

Files: "A psychotic delusion is so powerful that a person would doubt everything else in life, but not the delusion."

Now on medication, Deanna Laney appeared gripped by reality. She looked down and sobbed for most of the testimony. Except when there was testimony about little Aaron, who survived. She stared at the photo of him being shown to the jury, as Aaron's doctor testified he will never be the same.

"Even though he may learn some communication skills, his ability to communicate with spoken and written language will be significantly impaired," said neurological surgeon David Sacco.

The jury was left with their instruction once again -- don't discuss the case with anyone. Though after day one, all who were there were left with much to think about.

Morgan Palmer, reporting.

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