Deceased father focus of testimony in murder trial

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The Eric Campbell murder trial enters its third week with much of the testimony focused on the words and deeds of the defendant's father. (WTVD)

The Eric Campbell murder trial enters its third week with much of the testimony focused on the words and deeds of the defendant's father.

Jurors on Monday listened to the sometimes emotional recollection of witnesses who spoke about their relationship with Eric Campbell, his father Ed, or both.

They're hearing from a woman who says she's known Eric Campbell since he was a child and acted extremely nervous. Linda LaMotte says she moved in with the Campbell family years ago in Texas when Mrs. Campbell was bedridden. During that time, LaMotte testified, she witnessed abusive behavior by Ed Campbell and experienced it on at least one occasion.

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LaMotte testified about the effects Ed Campbell's angry voice had on a then 8-year-old Eric Campbell. She said the boy was so frightened he'd sometimes wet and soil himself to the point where she had to keep "a barrel of diapers" ready in the home.

Choking up during testimony about her own frightening contact with Ed Campbell, LaMotte said: "He was violent. Very violent...If I didn't do like the boys did, if I didn't come to attention, he would snatch me by my neck. If I didn't do what he said, he would grab my arms...He would take the cords on the phones. I couldn't leave. If I tried to leave, he'd almost kill me."

She also told jurors that Ed Campbell physically abused his son.

"I wasn't sure why but I saw Ed grab (8 year old) Eric..toss him into the air, then toss him across the room...The whole couch fell backward. I was told to get back and leave them alone."

Another defense witness, Kristy Davison, testified about what she saw and heard when Ed Campbell lived at the home she shared with her mother and siblings as a teenager. She described him as drunk and mean, a man whose anger came out in the form of ugly verbal insults we can't repeat on television.

Then, when Davison's mother tried to put Campbell out of the house and the children huddled in fear, "She just told us to be quiet, he has a gun... I thought, we're all gonna die."

Eric Campbell's lawyers maintain he's a victim of his manipulative father, and should not be held responsible for the 2014 deaths of Jerome and Dora Faulkner. Ed Campbell killed himself in prison after authorities arrested him and his son and then charged both with murder. The defense expects to wrap up its testimony by midweek.
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