Summarized by Kent Larsen
Stabbing wounds described in detail
(Phoenix) AZ Republic 9Dec99 D2
By Jerry Kammer: The Arizona Republic
PHOENIX, ARIZONA -- The sentencing phase of the murder trial of
former LDS high counselor Scott Falater began Thursday with Maricopa
County Prosecutor Juan Martinez guiding County Medical Examiner Dr.
Ann Bucholtz through a description of the stabbing wounds in
Falater's wife, Yarmilla, in an attempt to win the death penalty for
Falater. Falater was convicted of the murder of his wife in June
despite a "sleepwalking" defense that gained national media attention.
Yarmilla Falater had been stabbed 44 times, and some of the wounds
penetrated to the hilt of the 4-inch-long knife, said the medical
examiner. After she was stabbed, Yarmilla was then pushed into the
family's pool where she drowned. Scott Falater claims that he
remained asleep for 45 to 50 minutes while he stabbed his wife,
stashed his bloody clothes and dragged her into the family's backyard
The sentencing trial is expected to last through early next year,
when Judge Ronald Reinstein will impose one of three options on
Falater. He can order Falater executed, impose life without parole or
impose a life sentence and allow the possibility of parole.
Meanwhile, Falater's defense called the first of their 20 witnesses
to testify about his character. Daryl Willams told the court that the
attack on Yarmilla was "out of character with everything I know about
Scott." Williams, who is LDS and a lawyer, said he knew Falater
because they both taught early morning seminary. "I thought he didn't
have enough of a temper" with the students, said Williams. "I do not
think that Scott is someone that our society ought to say should be
killed," Williams said. "I don't believe the death penalty is
appropriate for this man."
Also expected to testify in Falater's behalf are his two teen-age
children, his mother, other members of the church and former
co-workers at Motorola.