:: Yahoo! News | Deaf black lesbian could be first woman on South Dakota death row ::

Deaf black lesbian could be first woman on South Dakota death row


by Josh Verge
April 9, 2007

SIOUX FALLS, United States (AFP) – A deaf, black lesbian accused of using a chainsaw to dismember a rival could become the first woman sent to South Dakota’s death row.

The trial of Daphne Wright, 43, has shocked and captivated this largely rural state, which has not executed a prisoner in more than 60 years.

Wright is accused of kidnapping and murdering a heterosexual deaf woman, Darlene VanderGiesen, 42, whom she thought was spending too much time with her girlfriend, who is also deaf.

Emotional testimony and gruesome exhibits filled the first week of her trial, and worse is to come: prosecutors are expected to show jurors a video of a pig being dismembered with the same type of chainsaw Wright bought two days after VanderGiesen disappeared.

VanderGiesen’s mother sobbed and stepped out of the courtroom as jurors passed around her daughter’s charred brassiere on Thursday.

But she managed to sit stoically as a maintenance worker described finding her daughter’s head and navel wrapped in bags and bed sheets that other witnesses linked to Wright.

Flecks of VanderGiesen’s bone and tissue were found hidden under a coat of fresh paint in Wright’s basement, where the smell of gasoline lingered days after VanderGiesen’s charred remains were left in a nearby Dumpster and in a steep ravine 30 kilometers (20 miles) away, police testified. Continue

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