Day 3 recap: Blansett case now in the hands of a Sumner County jury

first_imgby Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — The future of Lindsey Nicole Blansett, a 33-year-old mother from Wellington accused of killing her 10-year-old son, is now in the hands of 12 jurors.The jury started the deliberation process late this afternoon. The jurors have picked themselves a foreman and will start discussing the case amongst themselves tomorrow morning.They will be asked to decide one of three options for Blansett.1) Guilty of first degree murder.2) Guilty of second degree murder.3) Not guilty.The court has also asked them two special questions concerning the “intent” of the defendant if they choose option 2 and 3.The difference between a first degree and second degree murder conviction will determine the number of years Blansett will serve in prison if convicted.The defense rested its case this morning. After a lengthy discussion on what to place on the jury instructional form that included a couple of recesses, both Sumner County Attorney Kerwin Spencer and Defense Attorney Mike Brown made their closing arguments.The judge then revealed the two alternates and asked them to stay behind while the other 12 would go into deliberation. Because the day was coming to the close, the jurors decided they will start discussing the case tomorrow morning.Basically, this case hinges not on whether Blansett allegedly murdered Caleb on Dec. 14, but what was her mental state at the time of the killing. The jury must decide whether she deliberately planned the act or if this was caused by mental illness in which she was not of sound mind at the time of the alleged attack.•••••The state had rested on Thursday and it was now the turn of the defense.Dr. Jarrod Steffan, a clinical and forensic psychologist, was called to the stand for a one hour and 12 minute testimony. Stefan had conducted a series of psychological tests on Blansett in Aug. 10, 2015. Stefan said that results had found Blansett with elevated levels of  suspicion, paranoid, and apprehension which appeared to start forming one month before the incident.He said that Blansett speculated to him that she was sexually abused as a kid, but due to hypnosis during a counseling session during her parents’ divorce, she does not remember this happening. But he said she suspected that Caleb may have been sexually abused by his father and her ex-husband Clint Blansett. She then said to Steffan that during a church service at Aviator Church, she heard a message about God’s wrath and salvation, and started relating it to the 911 attack of the World Trade Center.Steffan said she was convinced after reading the 9th chapter and 11th verse of various books of the Bible, that it was God’s intention to take people out before bad things would happen. Everywhere she went she saw a message about 911.“She became convinced that this was a message from God, that in order to spare Caleb the torture, she must send him to heaven first,” Steffan said.Steffan said she had written Bible verses on the walls of her home and had visions of Caleb being tortured. It was during this time she never slept nor ate properly.Steffan said that Blansett suffered from bipolar behavior in which her mental state had become delusional and overwhelmed her with fear and paranoia. She did not hear voices but had come to the conclusion that this was the only way to save Caleb from future calamities.During cross examination, Spencer asked if she intended to kill Caleb that evening. Steffan said he did not know or could determine her mental state at the time of the alleged murder. He said she told him during the testing that she could not remember hitting him with a rock or stabbing him thereafter.•••••Dr. Roy Daum, a Larned State Hospital Psychologist, then came to the witness stand, on behalf of Spencer during the rebuttal portion of the court testimony.  Daum said Blansett suffered from “Brief psychotic disorder” which is defined as erratic behavior that could last one day and up to 30 days but not longer. The clinical definition is “a brief psychotic disorder in which a period of psychosis whose duration is generally shorter, non-recurring, and not caused by another condition.”During a brief period of time, Blansett may have had trouble distinguishing reality from her world and that led to paranoia and perhaps schizophrenic behavior, Daum said. During the evening in question, she locked the door of the house and had laid out the knives on the counter to protect the family from outside elements.When a toy gun fell off a counter, she became startled and thought people were coming to get her. Daum said it was there that she decided to save Caleb by using a rock and knife to kill him. However, Daum said reality set in not too much later as indicated on the 911 tape and that she was aware what was happening. He said he did not know the degree for which she was dealing in reality.By the time she had going to Larned for psychological testing in April, Blansett had no longer displayed this kind of behavior which led him to believe this was a brief psychotic episode, Daum said.•••••After several recesses in which the attorneys had haggled over the wording of the jury instructions, both Spencer and Brown made their closing arguments.Spencer told the jury that the fact she had to get a rock from the bathroom and then get a knife from the kitchen which required at least two trips to the bedroom proved she knew what she was doing.“When she hit Caleb with a rock, she had the wherewithal to think, ‘hey this isn’t working, so I need to stab him,’” Spencer said. “She would not stab him once or twice but seven times. Sometimes she used both hands to stab him. You’ve seen the pictures where the stab wounds went all the way through his body. She did this despite the pleas of ‘mom, stop.’”Brown then addressed the jury explaining how Blansett was having a tough Christmas without the support of her ex-husband, and how she wanted to give her children up to Aviator Church Reverend Mark Cress but was unable to do so. He told of her paranoia while staying with Ivan Scott in Belle Plaine.Brown also reiterated of the diagnosis of Steffan and her being bipolar. He questioned why one interview was shown to the jury and the other was not which showed that her mental state was much different after the initial killing.“I ask you the jury to be careful with ‘reasonable doubt’ and not take it lightly,” he said.•••••In other news, the judge asked Blansett if she wished to testify. For the first time in the trial, she spoke, saying “she did not want to.”Follow us on Twitter.last_img

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