Man retells grim story of wife's death

June 02, 1993|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,Staff Writer

Theodore Kaczynski Sr. struggled to be matter-of-fact as he described waking up last Aug. 29 and finding his wife lying on the living room floor of their Dundalk home with a blanket over her head.

But no matter how many times he went over the events in Baltimore County Circuit Court yesterday, he dissolved into sobs when he reached the point where he lifted that blanket and discovered that his wife's throat had been sliced open.

Mr. Kaczynski, 51, was the first witness in the trial of David Wayne Couch, 27, of the 200 block St. Helena Ave. in Dundalk, on charges of murder, robbery and burglary.

Mr. Couch is charged with murder, prosecutor Jason League told the jury, because he acted as a lookout during a robbery and burglary that resulted in the death of 44-year-old Patricia Jane Kaczynski -- and thus is guilty of felony murder under Maryland law.

But defense attorney Gerald D. Glass suggested in his opening statement that if the man believed to have killed Mrs. Kaczynski also raped her, his client would not be guilty of felony murder because the crime committed by his alleged partner would be "way beyond the scope of a burglary."

A second suspect has not been charged but is in jail on unrelated charges in Baltimore City, both attorneys said later.

After Mr. Kaczynski's testimony, prosecutors played for the jury a tape of his hysterical call to the 911 emergency operator after he discovered his wife's body at 8 a.m. Aug. 29. The couple lived in the first block of Liberty Parkway.

Mr. Kaczynski had gone to bed about 1:30 a.m. with the air conditioner on upstairs and his door closed, he said, while his wife was downstairs watching television.

The intruder broke a pane out of kitchen door and used the keys that Mrs. Kaczynski left in the deadbolt lock to enter the home, Mr. League said in his opening statement. Cupboards were later found open throughout the first floor, he said, and a checkbook and Mrs. Kaczynski's purse were missing.

Mr. Couch was arrested in September and gave police a statement, Mr. League said.

"David Couch didn't know [about felony-murder] when he told [police] he was guilty of burglary, but not murder," Mr. League told the jury.

Mr. Kaczynski became particularly upset several times during cross-examination when Mr. Glass asked detailed questions about his wife's body. He responded, sobbing: "Her throat was cut! It looked terrible. . . . It was hard enough for me to try to turn her over . . . I . . . God! . . . I don't recall. . . ."

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