A 3rd District jury continued to deliberate the fate of a man charged with the double murder of a mother and her daughter until noon Tuesday.
After Monday's final testimony and closing arguments, the jury spent four hours that night and another three-plus hours Tuesday morning without returning. Attorneys from both sides expressed surprise that the jury was taking so long.Edward S. Deli's attorney told the jury his client is guilty of murdering the two women but is guilty only of second-degree murder - not capital murder - because he did not fire the shots that killed Beth Tidwell Potts, 76, and Kay Tiede, 49.
But prosecutors disagree. Summit County Attorney Robert Adkins reminded the jury of the statement Deli made to Tiede's daughter Linae following the shootings after he kidnapped her and her sister and was driving away in the stolen vehicle: " `I'm as good with a knife as I am with a gun.'
"The murders of Mrs. Potts and Mrs. Tiede show how good he is with a gun," he said.
Experts testified that the two women were each shot with a .38 caliber and a .44 caliber gun. "The only person who was ever seen in possession of that .44 was Mr. Deli," Adkins said.
"We think the evidence shows that Mr. Deli caused the death of both (women)," he said. But prosecutors emphasized that they did not need to prove Deli fired the fatal shots, only that he encouraged, solicited or aided in the slayings.
Two weeks ago, co-defendant Von L. Taylor pleaded guilty to two counts of capital murder.
Monday afternoon, the jury heard about a statement Taylor made to a psychiatrist that he alone was responsible for killing the women. He said he "emptied" his .38 caliber weapon on the victims, then grabbed Deli's .44 magnum and "emptied" it.
But Taylor testified Friday that he lied and told the psychiatrist he had acted alone to add credence to the plea he had entered at that time of "not guilty by reason of insanity."
"I was hoping it would make me look more insane than I did," he told the judge during a closed hearing in his chambers.
Earlier Monday, the judge ruled that the jury would not hear about the statement because it was hearsay evidence. But he later allowed defense attorney Martin Gravis to read the transcript of the testimony to the jurors.
After the two women were shot, Deli took Linae Tiede into a back bedroom. Tiede testified that she heard Deli ask Taylor if he reloaded his weapon and said he appeared to reload his .44, Adkins said, adding that .44 shell casings were found in that bedroom.
He then told Tiede, "We have to kill you or take you with us because you have seen us," Adkins reminded the jury and emphasized "we" and "us."
"This was a joint operation, a joint plan, a joint participation by both Taylor and Mr. Deli," he said. "If he's not involved in the plan to kill or if he's not concerned about killing, why would he tell Mr. Taylor to reload?"
Adkins recalled testimony that, among other criminal actions, Deli put a knife to Linae Tiede's throat, aimed his gun at Rolf Tiede's head and cocked the trigger, threatened Tricia Tiede that he would kill her sister if she tried to do anything to upset him and aimed his weapon at officers just before their arrest.
"His actions speak louder than any words. When they entered (the cabin), they were ready to kill."
But Martin Gravis said Taylor was "the animal" of the crime spree and said Deli had no intention of killing anyone.
He said Taylor fired at the women three times and then took Deli's .44 magnum and shot them three more times. He reminded them of Linae Tiede's testimony that she looked away during the shootings and prayed aloud for it to stop. But Taylor told her her praying would do her no good and told her he was a devil worshiper.
"I submit to you the reason (Deli) took (Linae) into the back room is so she wouldn't be shot," Gravis said.
The defense attorney also said that after the men kidnapped the daughters, Taylor lost control of the vehicle and crashed it during a chase. Law enforcement officers began to surround them and Taylor pointed his gun at Deli and said, "It's time for us to die." Deli yelled, "No!" and grabbed the weapon from his hands.
"The reason Linae and Tricia Tiede are alive is because of Ed Deli," Gravis said. "It's very conceivable that Taylor would have shot Deli and the Tiedes in an attempt to get away. He was a desperate man."
But deputy county attorney Terry Christiansen said such statements were ludicrous and warned the jury not to let Gravis place all the blame on Taylor. When Deli pulled Linae Tiede into the back room, he held a knife to her throat, tied her up, gagged her and said they'd have to kill her or take her with them.
"Is that someone who is trying to protect Linae from Mr. Taylor?" he said. "Use your common sense."
Linae Tiede earlier testified that Deli told her he'd had a "restless night" and indicated he and Taylor had broken into their cabin the night before and spent the night. Prosecutors said the burglary, shootings and kidnappings were all part of the duo's plan.
"If they only intended to steal, why did they wait so long?" Adkins asked.
Later this week, a jury will hear evidence in Taylor's penalty phase and will decide if he should receive life in prison or the death penalty.