Mother on trial for not stopping husband's rampage
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (WSVN) -- A mother is on trial, accused of failing to do enough to stop her husband's murderous and suicidal attack at a Deerfield Beach RV park.
Deanna DeJesus is on trial for doing nothing while her husband, William DeJesus, stabbed and killed her 9-year-old autistic son and stabbed their other, 7-year-old son after he shot and killed a man, and then ended it all by killing himself. The surviving mother was also stabbed in the rampage, but, prosecutors said, she should have done more to stop her husband.
The trial began at the Broward County Courthouse Tuesday morning. DeJesus wept as the prosecutor described her son's stab wounds. "You will hear that Samson has injuries all over his body," said Prosecutor Greg Rossman about the 7-year-old who survived, "including his head, and the tip of the knife is broken off and still in his head when he is transported to the hospital where it's removed, and he survives."
The accused's husband committed the attack at a Deerfield Beach RV Park on the evening on Feb. 9. It began when he shot and killed 76-year-old Ovila Plante, a snowbird visiting South Florida with his 72-year-old girlfriend. The girlfriend was held at knife-point during a 5-hour standoff with SWAT outside Plante's RV, which DeJesus had barged into with his family.
After he released the girlfriend, DeJesus then stabbed his family and shot himself. The wife is on trial for doing nothing during the standoff. According to police, she is criminally responsible for not protecting her children.
In his opening statements, Terry Moons, her defense attorney, said, "The evidence is going to show what she ought to have done but not anything that she could have done. They're going to speculate and hypothesize and ask you to come back with a verdict of guilty because they're saying, 'You should've done this. You could've done this.'"
The surviving son will not take the stand. However, jurors can expect to hear the boy's statement from police records. Rossman said, "He's asked, 'When your father was stabbing you, what did your mommy do?'
'What did your mommy say?'
The girlfriend of Plante, Pierette Beuchemin, took the stand later in the day. She demonstrated on her interpreter how DeJesus put her in a headlock and threatened her. "I was afraid," said the interpreter for the witness. "There was a gun and a knife."
Also taking the stand was Michelli Rivera, the daughter of William DeJesus. She spoke with Deanna after the incident happened. On the stand, she spoke through tears. "She said that he asked her, 'Which one do you want me to do first?'"
The father would stab the 9-year-old a total of eight times.
Michelle Rivera, a friend of the suspect, also took the stand to recount Deanna's explanation. "Deanna said, 'But no, no, it's OK. He didn't suffer, you guys, coz he did it really fast." Rivera makes stabbing motions and breaks down in tears. "She said, 'I mean, I heard him a little, but he did it really fast.'"
DeJesus stands charged with child neglect and aggravated manslaughter.
(Copyright 2012 by Sunbeam Television Corp. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)