:: West Central Tribune | Deaf woman’s lawyers imply ex-lover dismembered friend ::

Deaf woman’s lawyers imply ex-lover dismembered friend

By CARSON WALKER Associated Press Writer
The Associated Press – Tuesday, April 10, 2007

SIOUX FALLS, S.D.

Defense lawyers started calling witnesses Tuesday in South Dakota’s first capital punishment trial with a female defendant – and implied her former lover did it.

Daphne Wright, 43, is charged with kidnapping and murder for the Feb. 1, 2006, slaying of Darlene VanderGiesen, 42, another deaf woman from Sioux Falls. Her dismembered remains were found in the Sioux Falls landfill and a Hills, Minn., ditch.

Jurors will be asked to sentence Wright to death by lethal injection if she is convicted.

In a videotaped interview, Wright told police she killed VanderGiesen because she was jealous and felt VanderGiesen had caused a rift between Wright and Sallie Collins, whom Wright had dated.

Collins testified that she broke up with Wright before VanderGiesen disappeared, saying she had lost interest in Wright – though they continued to spend time together.

Occasionally during cross-examination of prosecution witnesses, Wright’s attorneys have asked questions implying Collins could be responsible for VanderGiesen’s death.

And Officer Mark Toft of the Sioux Falls crime lab testified Tuesday as a defense witness that VanderGiesen’s address book was missing “C” and “D” when it was found. Continue

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