A jury is expected to begin deliberations Monday following closing arguments in the first-degree murder trial of Darci Pierce, accused of abducting and killing a pregnant former Utah woman and cutting her baby from her body in a crude operation.
A psychologist and a psychiatrist were the final witnesses to testify in the trial.Dr. Norman Katz, an Albuquerque psychologist called by the defense, said Pierce suffered from a mental disease and could not control herself from abducting and killing the pregnant woman. He also testified that Pierce did not plan the crimes.
Dr. Phillip Resnick, a Cleveland, Ohio, psychiatrist called by the state, testified that Pierce did know abducting and killing Cindy Lynn Ray, 23, formerly of Payson, Utah, was wrong, knew the consequences and could have stopped herself.
Pierce, 20, is on trial for first-degree murder, kidnapping and child abuse in last July's death of Ray, who was 81/2 months pregnant. The baby, cut from the victim in a Caesarean section performed with a car key, survived.
Pierce has pleaded innocent by reason of insanity.
A finding of legal insanity requires proof the defendant, as a result of a mental disease, did not know what she was doing or did not understand the act; did not know the act was wrong; or could not prevent herself from committing the act.
Resnick said Pierce was aware that kidnapping Ray was wrong because she waited two hours in a Kirtland Air Force Base clinic parking lot for Ray to come out, and was intelligent enough to know "taking someone against their will is wrong."
Resnick said that if Pierce hadn't known she was doing something illegal, she probably would have raced to the clinic and taken someone at gunpoint rather than trying to hide the abduction.
He said he believed Pierce was capable of premeditation because she had a deadline for getting a baby and may have stalked her victim.
And he said she knew killing was wrong because she thought about calling off an alleged plan to strangle Ray and perform a Caesarean section on her with a key.
He also said she knew the action was wrong because she took the woman to an isolated mountain area, hid the body, and wrapped the newborn girl in her own dress rather than the victim's.
Resnick said Pierce had fantasized about killing her mother and a former sister-in-law, and said, "The idea of murder is simply not a stranger to her mind."
He said she is a self-centered person who has shown no remorse for what she did.
"She accomplished what she set out to do," he said. "She delivered a healthy infant by sacrificing the life of the baby's mother."