See the update on Page 2 with Wade's lawyer saying he's guilty of rape and murder but was out of his mind so he should be spared the death penalty. The prosecution disagrees.
ORIGINAL POST, AUG. 26, 7:30 A.M.: A death penalty trial begins this morning for–if authorities are to be believed–a dirty rotten no good scum of the Earth.
To put it mildly.
Anthony Darnell Wade is the drifter accused of brutally murdering 84-year-old widow Bessie Mae Whyman in her Anaheim home in January 2010.
Whyman, an absolute doll according to her family, former co-workers and neighbors, was sleeping in her Paradise Road home around midnight on Jan. 10, 2010, when then-26-year-old Wade is accused of breaking in, binding her hands and feet, repeatedly punching and kicking her, brutally raping her, torturing her, and stabbing her numerous times with a kitchen knife to murder her. He is then alleged to have wrapped her body in a blanket, ransacked her home, and taken her purse and car.
Wade was apprehended in Highland in San Bernardino County shortly after the gruesome crime scene was discovered. He allegedly had credit cards and the car of Orange County's third murder victim of 2010.
He was indicted on April 22, 2010, on one felony count of special-circumstances murder. The special circumstances include murder in the commission of rape, robbery, burglary and murder with torture. He was also indicted on one felony count each of elder abuse, first-degree robbery, first-degree residential burglary, torture, forcible rape, the unlawful taking of a vehicle, and sentencing enhancements for the personal use of a deadly weapon and causing great bodily injury to an elder.
Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas convened a special panel of prosecutors and ultimately decided to see the death penalty for Wade, now 28, of Los Angeles.
Opening statements are scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. in Santa Ana.
UPDATE, AUG. 26, 4:57 P.M.: Deputy Public Defender Lisa Eyanson, who represents Wade, told jurors today her client is guilty of raping and murdering Bessie Whyman but that he was not in his right mind at the time.
Convincing jurors Wade was not responsible for his actions due to his state of mind could spare him a death sentence.
But Senior Deputy District Attorney Ebrahim Baytieh told jurors Wade admitted in a recorded interview with Anaheim Police that he killed and robbed the 84-year-old woman.
Wade was caught at a Food 4 Less in San Bernardino trying to buy about $400 worth of merchandise with one of Whyman's credit cards, noted the prosecutor. Calvin Milam reports for City News Service that Deputy Donald Zehms testified that when he arrived at the store, employees had Wade on the ground after a dispute erupted over him trying to use a student ID along with a credit card in Whyman's name.
The defendant had two wallets–one with ID and credit cards belonging to Whyman's late husband–and car keys to Whyman's white Chevrolet Impala, which turned out to be full of belongings from Whyman's home, Zehms testified. Asked about the credit cards in the Whymans' names, Wade answered "Bessie” was his aunt and that he'd picked up her late husband's wallet by mistake when leaving the house that day, Zehms testified.
After being read his rights, Wade changed the story to explain Whyman was his godmother, according to Zehms, who testified that at the sheriff's station in Highland Wade referred to Whyman as "an old family friend in need of company” and that she was like a "sugar mama” to him.
Jurors also heard a recording of Wade being asked again how he met Whyman and answering, "I don't know. How do you meet women?”
Asked about Whyman's belongings in a pillowcase in her car Wade was driving, he identified himself as an up-and-coming rapper who the elderly woman was helping get started in the business. He said he lied earlier about Whyman being his aunt, because he was embarrassed to have a sugar mama.
Anaheim Police Officer Sheddie Skeete testified that Whyman's home appeared to have been broken into when he arrived, and inside the house was ransacked and faucets were left running in the kitchen and laundry room, where a hand saw was left under the running water, blade up.
Whyman's body was under a red blanket laid out in the living room.