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For week ended December 12, 1999 Posted 18 Dec 1999

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Stabbing wounds described in detail

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 pool.

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.

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