Defense witnesses describe murderer's childhood

Defense witnesses describe murderer's childhood »Play Video
Angela McAnulty in court Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2011.

EUGENE, Ore. - Angela McAnulty faces the death penalty after pleading guilty to the December 2009 murder of her 15-year-old daughter, Jeanette Maples.

Prosecutors wrapped up more than five days of testimony in the penalty phase of the trial on Tuesday and turned the court over to the defense.

Now the defense is trying to convince the jury to spare McAnulty's life.

McAnulty's brothers Mike and George Feusi testified their mom was murdered when Angela was just five years old.

The case was never solved, but their dad was always the prime suspect. That made living with him terrifying.

"When he got behind you, you were so scared," George Feusi said. "He'd come up behind Mike and he'd hit him so hard."

"We weren't allowed to get food out of the kitchen at all. We knew that," Mike Feusi testified. "We could get water but that was it."

McAnulty cried as her friends took the stand.

Linda Mardis said she met McAnulty at a transitional home for unwed mothers.

"I never saw any type of behavior that would indicate this was in her future," Mardis testified.

Earlier in the day, the defense asked the judge to throw out the death penalty as an option, saying the state did not prove Angela McAnulty would likely reoffend or pose a danger to anyone other than her family.
The judge denied the motion.

The case continues Wednesday.

When the defense rests their case, the court will give the jury instructions and task them with deliberating whether McAnulty get life, life with the possibility of parole after 30 years, or the death sentence.

Watch KVAL News at noon, 5, 6 and 11 and for the latest on the case