The mother of convicted murderer Christian Olsen took the stand Tuesday in the punishment phase of her son's capital murder trial.
The defense team for the 21-year-old brought Rebecca Olsen to the stand as part of its push for a Brazos County jury to spare Christian's life.
Olsen was found guilty six days earlier of capital murder and could received the death penalty if a Brazos County jury so chooses.
Check out Steve Fullhart's live blog from the courtroom as he provides up-to-the-second updates on the proceedings and takes your questions.
The Bryan man was found guilty of killing 68-year-old Etta Jean Westbrook, his neighbor, back in June 2007, then stealing her credit card and using it at Bryan and College Station stores in the hours immediately after the killing.
Christian was adopted in 1987 according to his mother, a longtime teacher who said Christian was a fairly normal kid until age 14, when he met Melissa Sifuentez in middle school, and eventually, Melissa's mother, Kelly, who was 36 at the time.
"There were late-night phone calls," Rebecca Olsen told jurors. "There were periods of time he would disappear."
Christian would leave for Kelly's Oak Hollow Drive home.
As time went on, Christian's rap sheet grew, with Sifuentez as the driving force, Rebecca said. He was in and out of juvenile probation and programs, including the Roy K. Robb and Miracle Farm facilities.
Each time Rebecca Olsen thought her son might be turning the corner, she said Kelly was there to pull him back in, as the two continued to rendezvous against the mother's wishes.
"As time went on, it was like I couldn't communicate, and she scared me," Rebecca testified. "She stole him. She stole my son."
Rebecca and her husband kicked their son out of their house eventually. He moved into the Sifuentez home, a home where he is now accused of killing his girlfriend's mother, and then killing an innocent woman across the street.
"I feel absolutely horrible," Rebecca said about the Westbrook murder. "I can't imagine the pain. I'm so sorry. I'm so terribly sorry. If I had any idea, I would have done anything in my power."
Not long after Westbrook's body was found and Olsen was arrested for the murder, the mother of his girlfriend was found buried in her own backyard. Geraldine Lloyd's death and a subsequent investigation prompted police to arrest Olsen for the 63-year-old's murder as well.
Kelly Sifuentez was also arrested for her mother's arrest.
The defense has called witnesses in an effort to show that while Olsen may have killed two women (trial for the Lloyd murder has not be scheduled yet), it was Kelly Sifuentez who had a measure of control over the then-19-year-old, and brought him into a world of crime, mostly theft.
The state is attempting to show Olsen is not controlled by Sifuentez, and is fully aware of what he has been doing and should die as a result of the Westbrook murder.
Monday, the daughter of Kelly and that daughter's boyfriend testified that they both knew shortly after Lloyd's murder that it had happened, but did not tell police because they were scared for themselves, and in daughter Melissa's case, for her mother.
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