Victim's Son Takes the Stand in Russeau Case - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

10/09/02 - Tyler

Victim's Son Takes the Stand in Russeau Case

   A year after 75-year old James Syverston is murdered, his family gets their final say.

   The punishment phase took a dramatic turn Wednesday morning, when defense attorneys motioned for a mistrial. The motion came after prosecutors asked a forensic psychologist to compare Gregory Russeau's case with another capital murder case.

   Judge Cynthia Kent called the move "inappropriate in fairness," but did not declare a mistrial since the jury never heard the witness's answer. By far, the most emotional testimony came from the victim's son, David Syverston.

   David told jurors his mother, sister and children took his father's death hard. David Syverston says his father planned on retiring and passing down his auto repair shop. David says circumstances following his father's death caused the family to lose the business entirely. Jurors sifted in their seats uncomfortably, when David mentioned his father will never know his baby daughter. David's one-year old was born two months after her grandfather was killed.

   Prosecutors also asked David how his mother is coping with her husband's death.

   "She's lost without him," said David. "She's scared to go anywhere by herself. I mean after that many years she's suddenly by herself. And he took care of everything for her, and suddenly she's trying to figure out life."

   The state rested after David Syverston took the stand. The defense called four witnesses later in the day.

   A sentence is expected Thursday afternoon.

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