Stanley Griffin's mother denied ever verbally or physically abusing her son during the punishment phase of his capital murder trial. She said it was Griffin's father who was abusive, and that she was always a supportive, loving mother.
Dorothy Hicks' testimony Tuesday largely contradicted aunts of Griffin's and his ex-girlfriend, who testified they saw Griffin regularly beaten and berated by his mother during childhood and into adulthood.
The defense is hoping to show the jury Griffin's troubled upbringing is a mitigating circumstance that should keep the ten women and two men from sentencing him to death for the September 2010 murder of Jennifer Hailey in College Station. Griffin also attacked her nine-year-old son, but he survived.
In answering defense questions, Hicks denied striking her children or husband, "Tootsie" Griffin, with her hands, sticks and boards, and said she didn't Stanley "crazy" or "stupid" among other names. Instead, she said her late-ex-husband regularly shook and threw down Stanley when he was crying as a baby. "Tootsie" was abusive towards them as they got older, according to Hicks, who said she eventually left him.
Beyond the "she-said, they said" family drama, Griffin's last girlfriend retook the stand at the start of Tuesday. Andrea Copelyn continued to affirm that despite Griffin's threats of violence -- including death -- towards her, she still loved Griffin. Prosecutors even revealed the two spoke on the phone after her testimony Monday.
Copelyn reaffirmed she always wanted to eventually be with Griffin once her kids got through school. The relationship between Copelyn's children and Griffin was strained.
Also testifying Tuesday morning was a psychologist who administered an IQ test to Griffin in April. He scored a 73. The confidence scale ranged from 69 to 78.
The defense is trying to convince the jury that Griffin is mentally retarded, making him ineligible for the death penalty under the U.S. Constitution's 8th Amendment. Florida educators have testified he scored a 65 while in school, below the generally accepted high end score of 70 for retardation.
IQ is one aspect of the condition. Another is the ability to function, learn things and retain information day-to-day. Both sides have tried to present information pertaining to how Griffin lived his life and any struggles he may or may not have had.
At the end of testimony Tuesday, a couple that attends Covenant Family Church told jurors about the morning of September 19, 2010. The said Griffin came to the front of the church after services and asked the couple to pray for him, that he was homeless, had done wrong and wanted to get on the right track. They described him as looking hopeless and like a sad child.
The next time the couple saw Griffin was a picture of him on the news the next day. He had killed Hailey the night of September 19.
As a convicted capital murderer, there are only two punishment options for Griffin: life in prison without possibility of parole or the death penalty. A death sentence must be unanimous.
Defense witnesses are expected to take the stand through Wednesday, with prosecutors set to call a handful of rebuttal witnesses before closing arguments, which could come as early as Thursday afternoon.
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