PARIS, Ill. (WTHI) - Witnesses for the defense testified Monday in the third day of a Paris, Ill. murder trial.
Terry Payton is on trial for stabbing his mother, Kathie Payton, to death in June 2011. Defense attorneys argue that the teen had been acting in self-defense, while prosecutors argue Ms. Payton had already been knocked to the ground at the time she was stabbed.
Monday morning, four people who lived near the Kathie and Terry Payton described the relationship between the two. Several witnesses testified that they remembered Kathie Payton locking her son out of their home.
Two witnesses testified that they remembered hearing and seeing fights between mother and son.
"There was a lot of yelling and screaming that came from that apartment," testified one woman who lived nearby.
Two witnesses remembered calling the Department of Children and Family Services abuse hotline about the arguments. One of those witnesses also described an occasion on which she said Kathie Payton had received papers back from DCFS. The witness remembered Ms. Payton standing in the courtyard of their neighborhood and yelling that the allegations against her were unfounded and that no one would take away her child.
A hairdresser also described a day on which Kathie Payton brought her son in for a haircut and demanded that his hair be shaved off. The hairdresser also said that, after much pleading, Ms. Payton agreed to compromise and allow a short haircut.
Before lunch, attorneys played a recording of a call to the Paris Police on the day of the stabbing. In the call, Terry Payton tells police that he wants to admit to stealing $700 from his mother, something he had denied in the past. In the background, though, Kathie Payton seemed to be telling her son what to say. Police then asked to speak with Ms. Payton.
"I did hear you in the background telling him what to say, Kathie," said someone from the Police Department. The phone call seemed to end after that.
In the afternoon, jurors heard testimony from pathologist Dr. George Nichols, who once served as Chief Medical Officer in Kentucky.
Nichols testified that Ms. Payton had suffered a head injury before she was stabbed, but that the head injury did not cause direct injury to the brain that would have kept Ms. Payton from getting back up and attacking Terry Payton again.
Nichols also testified that it is not possible to tell from the condition of Ms. Payton's body whether she had been standing up or lying down at the time she was stabbed. That contradicts prosecution testimony from another pathologist that Ms. Payton was likely already on the ground at the time she was stabbed.
"From the findings of the autopsy, I can see nothing … that would refute (Terry Payton's) story," Nichols said.
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