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Maddox case to go to jury Monday
Jun 03, 2011 | 419 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print

By Kristin Holtz 

Scott County jurors will begin deliberations Monday in the second-degree murder trial of Charles Anthony “Tony” Maddox Jr.

Maddox, 47, is accused of killing his wife, Ruth Anne Maddox, whose body was found in the couple’s Prior Lake townhome Nov. 12, 2008. Maddox claims self-defense.

Closing arguments will start before 9 a.m. Monday. Both the state and defense wrapped up their cases Friday.

In addition to the second-degree murder charge, the jurors will also be instructed to consider a first-degree manslaughter charge, at the request of the defense.

Friday’s testimony wrapped up with the defense’s final witness and four rebuttal prosecution witnesses. Rebuttal witness Prior Lake Police Officer Craig Johnson testified about comments he said Tony Maddox voluntarily made during transport to jail.

Johnson told the court he reminded Maddox of his constitutional rights and recommended he remain quiet. However, Maddox told him, “She put up a good fight,” Johnson said.

Johnson said the defendant also told him: “You’re good. You knew those scratches on my nose were not from a dog,” in reference to Johnson’s early inquiry about the scratches.

Maddox testified Thursday he had no conversation with Johnson in the squad car.

Johnson agreed it was his word against the defendant’s.

Acute stress disorder

Also on the stand as a rebuttal witness was forensics psychiatrist Dr. Michael Farnsworth, who testified in response to Thursday’s defense testimony from Dr. Jane McNaught.

McNaught, a psychologist specializing in acute stress disorder (ASD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), defined ASD as being exposed to a life-threatening event or being with someone exposed to a life-threatening event. Someone can experience ASD for two to 30 days after the event, she said.

Criteria for an ASD diagnosis include dissociation, lack of emotional responsiveness and marked avoidance. People often act in a daze and everything seems surreal, McNaught said.

Farnsworth said not all people who experience traumatic events are affected the same way and even in traumatic cases it’s rare. He said it’s unlikely someone with ASD would exhibit goal-driven behavior, which is what the prosecution alleges Maddox did after Ruth Anne’s death by moving the body and cleaning the townhome.

The defense was prohibited from testifying whether Maddox had ASD. Defense attorney Fred Bruno said he still wanted an expert to testify to the behaviors associated with ASD, since most of the prosecution’s case focused on what happened after Ruth Anne died. Bruno noted his client had testified he was in a fog and not thinking clearly afterward.

“[The prosecution is] trying to say all this stuff, all this evidence is indicative of a guilty mind,” said Bruno; however, he said it’s possible what Maddox did after the traumatic event, the death of his wife, could be explained by ASD.

Door scratches

Friday’s testimony also centered on scratches on the master bedroom door. The defense claims Tony Maddox threw the door at Ruth Anne and she died after being struck at the neck. James Hessel, a private investigator and former Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension agent, said he believes a scratch made near the door handle was from a small screwdriver found in the kitchen.

Hessel, who also testified he easily unlocked the door using the screwdriver, said the width of the screwdriver blade perfectly matches the scratch.

The prosecution alleges a small screw in the garage workbench made the scratch when the door was stored behind it. Prior Lake Police Detective Chris Olson said the door was tightly wedged between the bench and wall and small burrs of wood were found on the screw.

A sharp object on the workbench would have left a mark in a different direction and doesn’t appear to have been made by a small, sharp screw, Hessel said.

BCA forensic scientist Kurt Moline, who works as a firearm and tool mark examiner, said his examination of the door was inconclusive.

Interference with dead body

Friday afternoon, attorneys and Judge Jerome B. Abrams worked on jury instructions. Abrams denied the defense’s request to include a lesser charge of interference with a dead body in the jury’s deliberations.

Bruno said because the state spent most its case on what happened after Ruth Anne’s death, it was “unfair” if the jury did not consider that as a lesser charge.

Abrams said he found no Minnesota legal means to include the charge.

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