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For week ended May 30, 1999 Posted 4 Jun 1999

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Murder trial opens with sleepwalking defense

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.

Copyright 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 Kent Larsen · Privacy Information