Last arguments near in DeLong trial

September 14, 1994|By Darren M. Allen | Darren M. Allen,Sun Staff Writer

Closing arguments in Jason Aaron DeLong's first-degree murder trial could come as early as today. Prosecutors concluded their rebuttal case yesterday.

Mr. DeLong, 19, has been on trial in Carroll Circuit Court since Aug. 23. The Westminster man is charged with fatally stabbing his mother, Cathryn Brace Farrar, and her boyfriend, George William Wahl.

Westminster police discovered the bodies Aug. 2, 1993, in Ms. Farrar's Bishop's Garth apartment. Ms. Farrar, 39, a nurse's aide, had been stabbed more than 80 times. Mr. Wahl, 35, a brother-in-law of Carroll State's Attorney Thomas E. Hickman, had more than 30 wounds.

Mr. DeLong's girlfriend of one week, Sara Elizabeth Citroni, 18, pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree murder in July and is expected to be sentenced Friday to two consecutive life terms for the slayings.

Prosecutors yesterday presented a second psychologist from the Clifton T. Perkins Hospital Center who told the jury of nine women and three men that Mr. DeLong was sane at the time of the stabbings.

Dr. Dennis Barton testified that, at most, Mr. DeLong suffered from a personality disorder and substance abuse. The psychologist, who examined Mr. DeLong in the months before his trial, concurred with his colleague Dr. Kevin Richards, who testified Monday.

The two Perkins psychologists were called to counter defense claims of insanity. Mr. DeLong, who has admitted to the stabbings, has pleaded innocent and not criminally responsible because of insanity.

His lawyers presented a half-dozen mental-health specialists last week who told the jury that Mr. DeLong was driven insane by a lifetime of abuse.

Defense lawyers have the opportunity to call additional witnesses today, but only if they counter what Drs. Richards and Barton said yesterday and Monday. Any closing arguments would occur after the final round of defense testimony.

Throughout the 14 days of testimony, two pictures of Mr. DeLong emerged. Prosecutors have called him a "cunning" criminal who killed his mother and her boyfriend for the "shallowest of reasons": to steal her meager bank account and her clunker of a car.

Defense attorneys have portrayed Mr. DeLong as a lost soul who snapped on July 29, 1993, after relentless abuse at the hands of his mother.

Mr. DeLong was exposed to Satanism and, for years, was shuttled between Ms. Farrar and Donald DeLong, the defendant's father and Ms. Farrar's ex-husband.

Luther C. West, the lead defense attorney, has said Mr. DeLong killed his mother because of years of sexual abuse. Ms. Farrar's relatives have disputed that, but Mr. West called the case a classic example of the battered child syndrome, in which a child kills a parent in self-defense after years of physical and emotional abuse.

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