Bed brought into court in Susan Wright trial

October 21, 2010 3:13:45 PM PDT
In addition to grisly crime scene photos, the jury deciding the new punishment for Susan Wright got a graphic visual on how she fatally stabbed her husband, as the bed he was tied to was brought into court. The jury was transported into the bedroom of Susan and Jeffrey Wright.

"We'll let the record reflect Sgt. Reynolds is tying a knot around the headboard," prosecutor John Jordan said.

Jordan demonstrated what the jury could only imagine before. With Sgt. Mark Reynolds from the Harris County Sheriff's Office homicide division, they showed the jury the process of tying a man's wrist to a bed frame. They used the original bed frame Jeffrey Wright was tied to when he was murdered in 2003.

Later, a brand new mattress set was brought in. Noticeably missing were the original mattress and box springs. Both were destroyed by court order after Susan Wright's trial in 2004. They had been ruled a biohazard. This jury instead listened to Sgt. Reynolds' description. He investigated the crime.

"It had a large amount of blood towards the head of the bed," Sgt. Reynolds testified. "It was saturated in it and where it actually flowed over the sides of the mattress."

It's a big difference from Susan Wright's criminal trial in 2004 when the actual bed was brought in and the crime re-enacted. Now in private practice, Paul Doyle then worked for the Harris County District Attorney and was lying on the bed in 2004.

He said, "Well, I don't think it was extreme. It was to give the jury an idea that she used that bed as a weapon. It was a torture chamber for Mr. Wright."

It's a powerful visual aid, says Doyle, that this jury will not experience and may have consequences.

"When you see a human's blood on a mattress and it's real blood and you know somebody died on that mattress at the hands of a brutal murderer -- sure they're going to miss something," Doyle said.

The prosecution was expected to rest their case Thursday. They are trying to prove Susan Wright killed her husband because she wanted money from the insurance policy. Wright was convicted in 2004 of killing her husband and sentenced to 25 years.

The 25-year punishment was thrown out because Susan Wright's defense did not include battered women syndrome. Her sentence could be reduced significantly if the jury believes the murder was a case of 'sudden passion.'

In this case, the jury has a wide range of options. If they find 'sudden passion,' Wright could get probation. If they don't find 'sudden passion,' she could receive up to life in prison.


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