Defense takes over in Susan Wright resentencing

October 22, 2010 3:38:57 PM PDT
Jurors in the Susan Wright resentencing hearing are getting a very different picture of the woman who killed her husband by stabbing him nearly 200 times. On Friday, the defense began presenting their side of the case and say Wright was a victim first.

"He was the master and she was the slave," testified neighbor Jackie Davies.

That was the harsh characterization given by Davies when asked to describe the relationship between Susan and Jeffrey Wright. In 2003, Davies lived next door to the couple and said prior to Jeffrey Wright's murder, she had seen a bruise on Susan Wright's forehead.

"I asked her how she got it and she said Bradley (Wright's son) had thrown a GI Joe at her," Davies testified.

Davies mentioned that she thought Bradley was three years old at the time. Davies later testified she did not believe Bradley caused the bruise.

"The evidence will show the slow mental breakdown that Susan had," defense attorney Juan Guerra told jurors Friday.

In their opening statement, the defense painted a sympathetic picture, describing Susan Wright as a woman physically and emotionally abused by her husband, Jeffrey Wright.

"In my opinion he ruled the roost," testified Davies.

Davies gave the jury examples of what she said was Jeffrey Wright's controlling personality, including on his wedding anniversary, leaving Susan Wright at home after Bradley became ill.

"He said she should go ahead and stay home with Bradley and he was going to go out with the couple that he had invited along," she testified.

It's the kinds of testimony our legal expert says makes an impression on jurors.

"Jurors relate to neighbors they related to family members," said KTRK Legal Analyst Joel Androphy. "It's very important to have those people testify."

Defense attorneys are attempting to show Susan Wright killed her husband in an act of sudden passion and that's an important legal note. If sudden passion is proven, it could drastically reduce Susan Wright's 25-year prison sentence, with probation a possibility.

However, if jurors don't believe the sudden passion defense, she could receive up to life in prison.

Stay with ABC13 Eyewitness News and abc13.com for the very latest on the Susan Wright resentencing.


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