Second "Jury" To Hear Laney Case - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

11/1/04

Second "Jury" To Hear Laney Case

It was a case that gained national attention. The jurors in the Deanna Laney capital murder trial reached a verdict back in April. The Chapel Hill mother confessed to stoning two of her sons to death and permanently injuring her third son. She was found not guilty by reason of insanity.

Tonight, 12 new jurors will re-try Laney's case on PAX TV on a reality show called Second Verdict.

Guilty of capital murder or not guilty by reason of insanity? That's the question six men and six women have to answer.

"It's up to you to decide whether or not Deanna knew what she was doing at the time," Rob Nelson, the show's host, told the mock jurors. "Could she distinguish between right and wrong, and therefore should not be held criminally responsible for what she did?"

The 12 mock jurors don't know what the actual jurors in the case decided. The new panel gets to hear the same facts as the real jurors did, as well as testimony from the defense and prosecution during trial, and come to their own conclusions.

The mock jurors hear Laney's taped confession, where she said God told her to kill her children.

"I think she was rock solid as sane as I am right now," Tommy, one juror, said.

"If she was insane, why would she ask to speak to a lawyer first?" Frankie, another juror, said.

"She's insane," Johnny, a juror, said. "She snapped. She's crazy."

"But she didn't just snap and do one thing," Kristin, a juror, said. "She methodically called one child out and told him to lay his head down against the rock, and then she killed him."

In the first informal vote, eight jurors say Laney is guilty, four say "not guilty by reason of insanity."

Things get heated as the jurors try to reach a unanimous decision.

"Allow someone else to make a point!" Eric, a juror yelled to Johnny, who responded, "No. Frankie asked me a question. She responded to what I was saying."

After more deliberating and the mock jurors' hearing testimony from psychiatrists, four of them change their minds and three are now undecided.

"I do believe she was insane, but I don't want to say 'not guilty,'" Arlene, a juror who's on the fence, said.

Most jurors are still steadfast in their position.

"She called 911. She's asking for an attorney," Eric said. "There's just all these things that prove that she's sane and knows the difference between right and wrong."

"I will not see this lady rot in a cell, when she needs help," Kimberly, a juror, said.

At the end of the episode, jurors present their finding to the show's host. Only then will they and you find out if their "second verdict" is the same as the first one.

You'll have to watch the hour-long show to see the verdict the 12 mock jurors came to. Second Verdict airs tonight at 9 on PAX TV.

Julie Tam, reporting.

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