Summarized by Kent Larsen
Murder trial opens with sleepwalking defense
(Phoenix) AZ Republic 25May99 L8
By Victoria Harker The Arizona Republic
The murder trial of former LDS Stake high-counsellor Scott Falater started
Monday in Maricopa County Superior Court. Falater is accussed of stabbing
his wife 44 times and holding her head under the water of their swimming
pool. His defense is raising eyebrows, however, because Falater claims that
he was sleepwalking at the time. His wife had interrupted him while
sleepwalking, leading to violence. "He immediately went into a rage, a
total frenzy, and stabbed her 44 times,"said Falater's lawyer Michael
Kimerer in his opening remarks.
Falater had been trying to fix a broken pool pump that was making noise
before he went to bed. The defense claims that his mind was still fretting
over the pump before he went to bed. He then evidently arose and went out
to the pump with a knife and flashlight, sleepwalking. Evidently his wife
then came out to the pool to ask him what he was doing.
County prosecutor Juan Martinez has a different view of the crime. He
claims that the murder was premeditated and is seeking the death penalty.
Martinez says that Falater was too deliberate and calculating in his
movements. and tried to cover up the crime afterwards. Martinez maintains
that this is inconsistent with sleepwalking. "He began stabbing her over
and over and over and over again," Martinez said in his opening statement.
"She went down to the ground and he continued to stab her in the back."
After the murder Martinez says that Falater changed clothes and claned up,
packed the knife and clothes in a plastic container, put the container in a
garbage bag and hid it in the wheel well of his Volvo hatchback.
One of Falater's neighbors, Greg Koons, testified at the trialon Monday
that he peeked over the fense and saw Falater walking through the house
turning lights on and off. He also said that he saw Falater finish-off his
wife in the swimming pool.