Jason Bryant Testifies
Monday, March 10, 2098
The youngest of the six Kentuckians facing life in prison without parole for their involvement in last years triple homicide in Greene County took the witness stand Tuesday morning.
Now 15 year old Jason Bryant implicated Joe Risner and Dean Mullins as the actual shooters in the deaths of the Lillelid family.
Bryant told his attorney Bob Jessie that even after the family had been kidnapped and driven to Payne Hollow Lane off I-81, he still had no idea about what Joe Risner was about to do.
(BRYANT VOICER #1...OC...THAT)(1:02)
Bryant went on to say moments after the shootings, he himself was threatened by Risner.
(BRYANT VOICER #2...OC...VAN)(:22)
The other defense attorneys spent much of the first day of the sentencing hearing trying to lay the blame back on Bryant; Risners attorney Mark Slagle adding he didn't believe the others would be there if not for Bryant. Natasha Cornetts council Robert Cupp said the five others had never been in any significant trouble until they met Bryant, with Mullins attorney calling Bryant "mean", the one who did the shootings. Bryant had testified earlier that he met and began dating Cornett only a month before the murders, and that he first met Risner, Mullins and Crystal Sturgill on April 4th, just two days before the shootings. Psychiatrists Dr. Paul Garanger would later call Bryant not much of a leader, instead more of a follower. Garanger would also tie Bryants involvement to the "Stockholm Syndrome", where in a one perceives themselves to be a hostage. Jesse requested Judge Beckner not allow the adult defendants to "put another notch in their belts" by pining the shooting on Bryant.
In addition to Bryant, nine other persons testified Tuesday, four as character witnesses for Bryant, three others on behalf of Dean Mullins. His pastor, a church friend, and former girlfriend, testified of Mullins very active involvement in the church. Mullins had professed his faith and been baptized less than a year before the murders and had been very action in church activities, including leading prayer and singing in the youth choir, as recent as three weeks prior to his involvement in the crime.
Testifying first Tuesday was Forensic Pathologist Dr. Cleland Blake. Blake, called by the state to support their aggravated circumstances argument for the cruelty involved in the murders. Blake testified Vidar Lillelid was shot six times, five times after he was lying on the ground, including what he called an intentional equal lateral triangle in the chest area of both adults, which the prosecution says indicates the groups satanic involvement. Delphinia Lillelid, Blake would testify, was shot eight times. Unlike her husband, who was rendered immediately unconscious by the first shot and died within three minutes, it was Blakes testimony that she could have lived for up to twenty minutes after being shot, and could have been conscience when one of the children was placed on top of her and could also have been conscious when she and her husband were run over by their own van.
The five other defendants are expected to testify either today or Thursday, Judge Beckner saying that at the current pace, testimony and final arguments should be complete by the end of the day Thursday and if so, he will be ready for sentencing on Friday morning.