An emotional Linae Tiede testified Wednesday about the cold and bloody December afternoon when both her mother and grandmother were shot and killed before her eyes.
The three women had just returned to their Summit County cabin after spending the previous evening shopping for Christmas gifts for one another in Salt Lake City. When Tiede walked out of the arctic cold into the cabin, she testified that two men jumped out and pointed guns at her.The 20-year-old Utah State University freshman pointed to Edward S. Deli, 22, and identified him as one of the men who had pointed a rifle at her. She said Von L. Taylor was also with him.
Taylor, 26, pleaded guilty last week to killing both women.
The armed men ordered her mother and handicapped grandmother into the cabin. Beth Potts, 76, of Murray, sat down on a bar stool and Kay Tiede, 49, of Humble, Texas, stood inside the cabin near the doorway. The women asked the men why they were there, what they needed and offered them money and anything they wanted.
"Taylor kind of walked over to my mother and pulled the trigger on his gun," Tiede testified. "She doubled over where he hit her and said, `I've been shot.' "
Fighting back tears, she told the seven-man, five-woman jury that she also watched as Taylor shot her blind and partially immobile grandmother.
"I see a bullet go right into her throat and see her gasp for air," she said. "I was praying out loud for it to stop."
"Did you hear any other shots?" asked Summit County Attorney Robert Adkins.
"No. I was praying too loud for everything to stop," she said.
"I kept on praying and Von Taylor yelled over to me to stop, that it wouldn't work because he was a devil worshiper."
Tiede said she pleaded with the men to let her phone for an ambulance. "They just ignored me."
Kay Tiede referred to the family's cabin in the Beaver Springs subdivision as "Tiedes' tranquility," deputy county attorney Terry Christiansen said during opening arguments. "Dec. 22 was a day that was not a tranquil day for the Tiede family, but a living nightmare."
Linae Tiede testified that following the slayings, Deli held the blade of a knife against her throat and tied her ankles and wrists with packing tape. She said she begged the men to leave, telling them they had already done enough.
"Deli said, `No, you don't understand. You've seen us. Now we have to either kill you or take you with us.' "
She said the duo talked about burning the cabin to cover up their fingerprints. "They talked about having to move the bodies and wanting to throw them off the balcony," she said.
After the bodies had been removed, Tiede said the men ironically began to play with a puppy that she had just brought to the cabin with her. "He was just left to run around and they would pick him up and play with him and say how cute he was."
In addition to two counts of capital murder, Deli is also charged with two counts of aggravated kidnapping, attempted murder, aggravated robbery, aggravated arson, aggravated assault and theft.
Defense attorney Martin Gravis said the evidence will show Deli is guilty of all charges except the charges that he killed the two women. He admitted that it was his client and Taylor who were burglarizing the cabin when the women walked in on them.
Both women were shot three times "without any provocation," he said, but emphasized that Taylor was the one who shot the women and not Deli.
"If you don't find that (Deli killed them) knowingly and intentionally, then you cannot find him guilty of capital murder," Gravis told the jury.
He also said that after Kay Tiede's husband, Rolf Tiede, and his 16-year-old daughter arrived, Taylor ordered Deli to kill him. Deli pointed his gun at Rolf Tiede, but did not shoot him.
"Deli held the gun on him for 30 seconds before Taylor pulled his gun out and shot him in the head," Gravis said. "All shots were fired by Von Taylor."
Rolf Tiede was shot in the head and "fell to the ground in a pool of blood," said Christiansen. "Realizing he could not get away from both of them, he lay there pretending to be dead."
He heard them talking about setting the cabin on fire, then heard someone walk by and fire at his head a second time. Both shots were with birdseed, but the weapon was so close that the plastic wadding of the bullet imbedded into his forehead, the prosecutor said. Rolf Tiede then felt one of the men pour gasoline onto his body.
Deli and Taylor were arrested following a high-speed chase after kidnapping the two daughters and driving away in the family's car.
On May 15, a different 3rd District jury will decide whether Taylor will receive the death penalty or life in prison for his guilty pleas to first-degree murder. If Deli is convicted of the murder charges, the same jury now listening to the case will decide his fate.