Woman stands trial for adopted son's death

May 19, 2008 5:52:05 PM PDT
The ex-husband of the Johnston County woman charged with killing her 4-year-old adoptive son in 2006 said Monday that his ex-wife is guilty.

Johnny Paddock broke his silence, speaking publicly for the first time about the allegations against Lynn Paddock, his ex-wife. The couple divorced last year.

Lynn Paddock is accused of killing the couple's 4-year-old adopted son, Sean Paddock, at their Johnston County farmhouse in February of 2006. Lynn Paddock is accused of wrapping Sean so tightly in blankets as a form of punishment that the child suffocated.

"I miss him a lot. I loved Sean, I did. He was my son," said Johnny Paddock, Sean's adoptive father and Lynn Paddock's ex-husand. "I want to see the person responsible for his death brought to justice." Johhny Paddock said that person is his ex-wife, and he denied knowing of any abuse in his home.

"I was not aware of what was going on," Johnny Paddock told reporters outside the Johnston County Courthouse in downtown Smithfield. "I'm not guilty, I know I'm not." Johnny Paddock has never been charged with any crime in relation to Sean Paddock's death.

He said he will testify in Lynn Paddock's murder trial if called by the prosecution. Both prosecutors and defense attorneys have filed a host of pretrial motions, which are being heard Monday.

Lynn Paddock is charged with first degree murder in Sean's death. She is also charged with abusing Sean and his two biological siblings, who were also adopted by the Paddocks. She has pleaded not guilty on all charges.

As part of pre-trial discussions, some of the children who grew up in the Paddock house were called to testify. Their testimony today was not part of the jury trial; the testimony came before jury selection began.

The prosecution wants the children to be able to testify during the trial about abuses separate from those Lynn Paddock is specifically charged with.

One of those called to testify was Jessy Paddock, 20, of Raleigh. She is Johnny Paddock's biological child; Johnny and Lynn Paddock married when Jessy was two years old. Jessy Paddock told of being afraid of Lynn Paddock and said she was beaten by Lynn Paddock almost monthly when she was a little girl.

"I do remember a certain amount of fear, underlying fear in general of doing anything wrong," Jessy Paddock said. "I would be beaten on occasion if I got out of line, did anything I wasn't supposed to."

Jessy Paddock also said she felt Lynn Paddock was jealous of her relationship with her father in Jessy's earliest years. "Her and my father argued a lot, especially over me," Paddock said. "As a child I had a sense of her being jealous of me."

Jessy said she was beaten less often than 2 other children the Paddocks adopted in the 1990s. She said Lynn Paddock would beat those children at times with plastic PVC plumbing piping and at other times with her hands, branches and wooden spoons. The family moved from Raleigh to rural Smithfield in 2001, and Jessy said Lynn Paddock became more violent after the move.

"She would hit harder. It looked to me like she was hitting as hard as she could," Jessy Paddock said in the courtroom.

Jessy Paddock recalled a series of terrifying abuses that she says occurred over several years.

She said Lynn Paddock would at times make her adoptive children sit on the floor all day long, cross-legged, with their hands on their heads.

Jessy Paddock told of one time when she says Lynn Paddock deliberately put soap in the eyes of one of the family's adoptive children.

Jessy Paddock said Lynn Paddock sometimes duct-taped childrens' mouths shut; one time, Jessy Paddock said Lynn Paddock made one of her adoptive daughters, then 7-years-old, drink three quarts of water, then urinate on herself and then sit in the urine.

Jessy Paddock also said at one time Lynn Paddock withheld food from one of her adoptive sons for four days.


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