Updated: Tuesday, 26 Feb 2013, 9:28 PM EST
Published : Tuesday, 26 Feb 2013, 6:51 PM EST
PARIS, Ill. (WTHI) - Jurors heard testimony about child abuse and mental health in the fourth day of a Paris, Ill. murder trial Tuesday.
Terry Payton is accused of stabbing his mother, Kathie Payton, to death in June 2011. Payton’s defense team has argued the teen acted in self-defense, a contention prosecutors reject.
Tuesday morning, psychologist Dr. Marilyn Frey testified that she believes Terry Payton had a condition known as Battered Child Syndrome, something characterized by a co-dependency between the abuser and the person abused. Dr. Frey testified that someone with Battered Child Syndrome who is threatened with their life would not think but would experience “terror coming out.”
Dr. Frey also testified that Terry Payton showed “dissociative tendencies” which could explain why he moved his mother’s body and tried to clean up after the stabbing. Prosecutors, however, pressed her to show the difference between someone moving a body because of “dissociative tendencies” and someone moving a body because they did not want to be caught.
Prosecutors also asked Dr. Frey why, in her report which was given to both sides before the trial, she did not include her diagnosis of “Battered Child Syndrome.” She responded that including diagnoses in reports is not part of her style.
Later in the day, jurors heard from a counselor, a social worker and an administrative assistant from the schools Terry Payton attended.
The counselor testified that, on two occasions, Kathie Payton called her office. In one conversation, she testified, Kathie Payton described her son as a “sociopath.” During the conversation, she said, Ms. Payton said her son was misbehaving because he was bigger than her. She said Ms. Payton then told her that her son was a sound sleeper and that she had an electric knife.
“I could cut his knees off at the knee and he wouldn’t be bigger than me,” she recalled Kathie Payton saying. “I would slit his throat if he (took) my medication.”
The counselor testified that she called the Department of Children and Family Services because of the call.
Next, the defense called an administrative assistant at Paris High School who testified that Ms. Payton called the school two or three times each month asking to speak with Terry. When defense attorneys asked what Ms. Payton said during a phone call in May 2011, prosecutors objected on the grounds that such testimony would be hearsay. Attorneys didn’t ask any more questions of the witness.
Defense attorneys also called a school social worker who described a conversation with Terry Payton in March 2011. During that conversation, she said, Payton told her that he was struggling with thoughts of harming his mother. Payton also told her that his mother had accused him of stealing $10 and that he had, in fact, done so.
Jurors also heard from a former bus driver who often picked up Kathie and Terry Payton. The woman said she did not remember seeing Ms. Payton sober in the days before her death, but she did describe seeing Kathie Payton yelling at her son on the bus.
“She got on the bus and she told him he was worthless … he would never amount to anything,” the woman testified.
In the afternoon, jurors heard testimony from a high school friend of Terry Payton. The friend, whom Payton texted immediately after stabbing his mother, testified he had often seen Ms. Payton yell at Terry. He also described meeting up with Payton at Walmart on the day of the stabbing.
The judge in the case told jurors that evidence in the last evidence in the case is expected to be offered Wednesday.
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