Closing argument underway in Paddock trial

June 11, 2008 7:33:24 AM PDT
Closing arguments are underway in a Smithfield courtroom in the murder trial of Lynn Paddock. Paddock, 47, is accused of killing her four-year-old adopted son Sean Paddock in February 2006. The defense rested its case Tuesday with her family saying she is not the monster the prosecution has made her out to be.

On the final day of testimony, the court heard from a psychologist who evaluated Paddock.

James Hilkey said he didn't believe Paddock, who confessed to beating her children with a plastic flex rod, meant to hurt them.

"Unfortunately, Mrs. Paddock had a horrendous and horrific early experience," Hilkey said. "Her models were that of abuse, and I think in stressful situations, her tendency was to over-discipline in an attempt to gain some order."

He also testified that paddock was easily influenced, particularly by a Tennessee pastor who advocated physical discipline.

Members of Paddock's family also took the stand. The Paddock's siblings described their sides of the story.

"She was also extremely abused as a child, and I think in this situation she just got overwhelmed, too much responsibility, too many kids that had huge problems of their own, and I think she just reverted back to the only thing she ever knew, which was how her mother treated her," Tanya Luck, stepsister, said.

Family members say Paddock saw her mother for the first time in decades just months before Sean Paddock was found dead. He was wrapped so tightly in blankets that he suffocated.

Paddock's half-brother said he thinks the abuse Paddock endured as a child may have triggered the abuse she inflicted on her children.

"It's unfortunate that the prosecution and unfortunately the media has made it look like she's a terrible monster," Fred Neyhart, Paddock's half-brother, said. "Granted, she got carried away with her discipline, but that was the only form of discipline she ever knew because that's what she grew up with."

Paddock's family doesn't believe her husband, Johnny Paddock, was unaware of the abuse taking place in his home. They want his investigated further. They also say they have not forgotten Sean Paddock and are very sorry about what happened.


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