Thursday, January 21, 2010

Jury recommends death penalty for dad who killed 2 children, former mother-in-law (Canton, Ohio)

The jury has recommended that dad JAMES MAMMONE III be given the death penalty for the murder of his two children and former mother-in-law. This is somewhat unusual; you rarely see fathers get the death penalty for killing their own kids.

Note that in Dad's rambling and incoherent statement, he initially blamed "the divorce" for his actions, and his wish to spare his children any pain from a "broken home." Standard fathers rights spiel.

Then he admits that he himself says he was the victim of an alcoholic, abusive father, and that his "good mother" was unable to protect him.

And it goes on and on. More than I really want to know about or hear from this sick sh**.

As too often happens, abused children become what they feared and hated the most. Sounds like Gramps managed to spawn a delusional, manipulative, and violent sociopath--even worse than the old man.

Dad's problem wasn't that he was raised in a "broken home" (after Gramps abandoned the family when Dad was 12). It's that Dad was ever exposed to a guy like Gramps at all.

And it's too bad that Dad had visitation, and that Mom and the kids couldn't have just "disappeared" somewhere. After that first episode--when Dad flipped out just 20 minutes after the kids arrived--that should have been it. But no, he didn't have the basic decency to just wander off and go away like his own dad. No, he had to slaughter 3 human beings instead.,0,4641002,full.story

Jury Recommends Death Penalty for Mammone
Dave Nethers Fox 8 News Reporter

CANTON, Ohio -- The same jury that found James Mammone III guilty in the death of his two young children and former mother-in-law, has now recommended Mammone be given the death penalty for his crimes.

The jury reached a unanimous verdict on three death penalty recommendations on Wednesday afternoon.

The judge in this case, John G. Haas, told the courtroom he will announce a sentence, based in-part on the jury's recommendation of death for Mammone, on Friday, December 22, at 11:00am.
The jury's decision came just hours after hearing testimony from a psychologist hired by defense attorneys to evaluate Mammone.

Jeffrey Smalldon told jurors during seven meetings with Mammone, "I never had any questions about his competency to stand trial".

Smalldon testified he met with Mammone, members of Mammone's family and others who knew him, to try and understand his state of mind at the time he brutally stabbed to death his two young children then shot and beat to death his ex-mother-in-law.

"I concluded at the time these offenses occurred, Mr. Mammone was experiencing extreme emotional distress," said Smalldon. "[Mammone] is suffering from a severe mental disorder, [although] the symptoms were not so severe that he didn't know the difference between right and wrong."

Smalldon emphasized to jurors, "[Mammone] was able to know the difference between right and wrong." The psychologist added "[Mammone] would not qualify for a defense of not guilty by reason of insanity."

Smalldon went on to tell jurors the he believed Mammone was profoundly affected by his father calling him names like, "maggot" and "looser" when he was a child.

"He looked toward his father for affirmation of his self worth and [was rejected]," said Smalldon, "I knew within ten minutes of meeting him there would be aspects of this case that would set him apart from all of the other [250] death penalty cases I have worked on."

The psychologist testified that Mammone would, "Say some things that were unimaginable without changing his tone of voice at all."

On Tuesday Mammone took the witness stand in an effort to spare his own life.

In a reversal of last week's criminal trial, prosecutors closed their case in the sentencing phase without calling any witnesses. Defense attorneys, meanwhile, called Mammone himself as their first witness. He took the stand, explaining to jurors that he would give them a "first-hand account of what I did and how I was feeling at the time."

Childhood Issues

Mammone testified that as a child he got severely beaten by his father quite a bit. He said he got a lot of love and attention from his grandfather, who died in 2004.

Mammone said that his father was very angry, and that he continued to drink every day.

"My mother and I never knew when we would come under this rage," the defendant testified. "If I knew my father would be home and had been drinking, I would be very nervous.

"That was my reality."

Mammone said that he did everything to be a good son and get his father's attention, participating in the sports he liked and listening to the music he liked. He said that he tried everything to get on his father's good side.

As for his mother, Mammone said that his father had "as good a wife as he could want."

"Aside from that she allowed us to stay in this abusive situation, she was a good mother," the defendant continued.

Mammone testified that, when he was 12 years old, his father collected his stuff and left. In spite of all of the abuse and everything, he testified his mother was devastated that she had failed to keep her family together.

He described it as a "really bad time for me."

"She (his mother) was working full time and trying to raise me," Mammone recalled.

He testified that his maternal grandmother spent a lot of time reading with him.

"I was always into learning about history, geography and math," he told jurors. "I lived in a very adult world.

"Once my father left and everything, I wasn't really interested in keeping on task at school. ... I was well behaved in school."

His testimony then transitioned from school to religion.

"When I was a really small boy, my grandmother Mammone tried really hard to teach me about Christ, about religion," Mammone testified, adding that his father tried to keep religion out of his life and insisted that he be an atheist. "My father always tried to keep my mother from taking me to the Catholic church she was going to."

In spite of the family conflict, Mammone testified that he got "a really good religious background to behave in a certain manner that was becoming of God."

During last week's trial, jurors heard a confession in which Mammone told police he was distraught over his divorce and believed his children needed to be raised in a home where they had both parents.

During his sentencing hearing, Mammone himself testified about his feelings regarding being raised in a broken home.

"I guess I kind of developed a complex about the fact that I was stuck in this childhood that I was going through, and the way my family (had been) was the way it should be," he told jurors.

Meeting His Wife

In his testimony Tuesday, Mammone seemed to ramble, going back and forth about his life as a young child and his life as a teenager, his relationships with his father, his mother and his grandparents.

He spoke in a matter-of-fact tone, talking about his feelings but displaying no real emotion.

Mammone testified that he moved out of his house when he turned 18 midway through his senior year in high school. He lived with a friend and that, soon after high school, he got to know the detective to whom he later confessed his crimes. That, he testified, explains the calm tenor of his taped confession because he felt comfortable talking with the detective.

He said that he met his ex-wife Marcia Eakin at a restaurant, where they both eventually worked.

"She was an absolutely beautiful girl, very attractive," he said, "but her family, I could tell she came from a really good family.

"She was a very admirable young lady, conservative, very intelligent. She had all of these qualities I thought I would be interested in pursuing, so to speak."

He continued, "She was a special young woman. After a couple of months of being around her, I started to fall for her.

"At the time I developed this crush on her, she was casually dating somebody. I just kind of waited my time, and after a month or so, she mentioned that she wasn't seeing this boy. I asked her out on Feb. 22, '96. Two days later, we went out for the first time. ... We really connected well.

"At some point of time in the relationship, we just felt it was meant to me. I couldn't see myself with anybody else and she indicated the same.

"Even before we got married, we started talking about having children. She indicated she wanted two children. (She) had in her mind what she wanted. We talked about commitment and about God, and I felt we were on the same page. We started picking out names, and I knew I wanted a son to be James IV because it was kind of a family tradition."

He said that Marcia chose the name Macy for a girl.

"We started buying things for the children before we started buying things for ourselves. Crib sets, all sorts of things like that. We had a storage shed that was full of these things -- stuffed animals and those sorts of things," the defendant recalled.

Mammone testified that the two were engaged shortly thereafter. They were married in December 1998, when he was 25 and she was just shy of 19 years old.

Family Values

Mammone showed emotion for the first time, fighting back tears in testimony about his relationship with his father-in-law.

"It was the kind of family setting I thought everyone should have, but unfortunately, I had seen so little of that," Mammone testified.

"I thought I was on the right track," he told jurors. " I thought whatever problems I had were in the past and they were not going to have an effect on me."

Mammone again showed a flash of emotion after testifying about their honeymoon at Disney World, where he said they discussed one day having children.

He testified about working long hours in the insurance industry "trying to spoil (Marcia), get her everything she wanted" while she went to school.

During his trial, prosecutors told jurors that working all of those hours started to have a negative impact on Mammone's marriage.

"We had always been very committed to one another, had a traditional Christian vow that we took, forever and for always. That is what we promised God we were going to do, and I was committed to that," he testified.

"About the time that we had started planning to have our first child, she had it all worked out (the timing of when they wanted to have children)," he said. When the time came, however, Mammone admitted to "hedging" a little, wondering if they should put it off.

He described himself as the more emotional of the two.

Recalling a conversation that he had with a friend about a year ago, he said he explained that there would never be some sort of scenario where his then-wife could leave him.

"It's not what we promised each other -- 'you know I would never leave you,'" he said, recalling his words. "I told her it would never be acceptable for my children to be raised in a home where Marcia and I weren't together as husband and wife. (It's) something that was unacceptable to me at any level and at any cost."

'Doting' Father

"When we had Macy, and Macy was born on March 22, 2004, you would never have seen two parents more full of themselves," he said appearing to again fight his emotions.

Mammone described his daughter "as good a baby as you could every want."

"I was always a doting and loving father to Macy. She meant everything to me," he testified to the same jury that last week convicted him of murdering the girl by repeatedly stabbing her in the throat. "All the love that I had for Marcia was just magnified when we went through the delivery-room process and had this little miracle come into our lives."

He testified that he spent 11 years as a regular attender at Westminister Presbyterian Church, calling the church family as important as any family to him. It was the church where he and Marcia were married and where he admitted taking the children when he took their lives.

Mammone's testimony seemed not very focused as he rambled through the relationships with his father, his father-in-law -- whom he described as "the father I never had" -- and his own family.

After several hours, the judge interrupted the testimony, telling Mammone that the court reporter needed a break.

Having a Son

"I was spending more time at the office than need be and was taking steps to cut my hours back. Rick (Hull, a friend) and I were setting up an office at home. I was still working a lot, but making a conscious effort to spend more time with my wife and daughter, which is where I wanted to be," Mammone testified.

"(Marcia) always kept herself as absolutely busy as anyone would be," he continued. "We were just going about our business raising Macy and she (Marcia) had a very strict schedule she wanted to keep (regarding having children)."

Mammone testified that when his daughter was about 1 years old, he noticed Marcia was getting stressed out.

"I wasn't against having James," he testified, but added that he wondered if they shouldn't wait. "As we did with Macy, we prayed to God to be blessed, which we were." James IV was born in May 2004.

"We had this little miracle that we prayed for," Mammone testified. "To me, such a personal and irreplaceable part of our lives. To me, I could never imagine not having that closeness with her and not having that united front that we had planned to be together for our children. (I) always felt it was important to remain together."

"We were really committed to having a traditional upbringing with our children," he testified, telling the jury that he and Marcia "stressed reading" instead of television.

"(We) had a television, but it was not connected to cable. We had a lot of conflict within our group about letting the children watch TV.

"We had James, and my mother-in-law Margaret had the children during the day while we were at work."

Mammone testified that his own mother was also a wonderful grandmother to the children.

"We brought James home, and it was terrific," he said. "Macy, she loved her brother, and the two of them, they always had a very good dynamic. A lot of times, brothers and sisters will pick at one another, but they never fought.

"We had a tight-knit group that was harmonious.

"Macy was two and I was perfectly comfortable and capable of doing everything that needed to be done. There was nothing that I lacked as far as parenting skills. I was quite taken by the process, and loved them very much.

"Putting the kids to bed was something that was important to me -- a daddy thing. I would get their PJs on them. Every night, we would read at least three stories and I would sit and rock or whatever until they went to sleep."

"It was apparent that Macy was a daddy's girl," Mammone said as he chuckled. He added that his daughter was "very creative" and the two of them "would sit and talk about just the most amazing things."

"James was more on a daytime schedule," he testified. "I would rock him and he would go to sleep, or if not, I would get up and lay with him.

"Once James came along and demanded even more attention, he would cry a lot more. (He was) harder to console. Not a problem, but what you would think a baby would be."

Mammone said he thought Marcia was getting more stressed out but never sensed a "rift" in his relationship, and they decided that they would only have the two children.

"That spring, she didn't communicate to me what was going through her mind and her thoughts," he said.

"In February of '07, she said she was going to go to counseling, to see a psychologist, and that just blew me away," Mammone told the jury. "I felt kind of helpless. I tried talking with her about it, but there were no concrete answers that she could give me as well. That just took me aback -- just such a shock.

"I guess I was pretty defensive about it. I told her we were fine and, if it would make her feel better, I would see a psychologist on my own. I thought there would be some sort of Christian-based resolution -- that we were committed to each other and to God. We had been blessed to have the two children.

"The counseling, I didn't think it was going well for me. The counselor was hung up on my relationship with my father. He was set on that, but I went through with it."

Mammone: "I Would Rather See My Children Dead, Than Live in a Broken Home"

Testifying about his former Mother in Law, Margaret Eakin who he also admits killing, Mammone described her as a very christian person.

During his testimony Mammome said, "She felt we should take our relationship issues to God, something I completely agreed with."

"This thing completely shut me down, I just didnt want to leave the house. I would literally cry, not to hurt me the way she had and not to break up our home," Mammone testified. He went on to say, "I had her asurances that our family would remain together and that our childrens home would not be broken up."

Mammone testified that he was fixated on keeping his family together. "I took my kids to the park a lot but now we had daily trips to the park". He told jurrors he didnt want to be away from home for long adding "I couldnt admit to anyone that I had a problem with my marriage," Mammone said in court.

"Things got better then I made a terrible terrible mistake." He said they went to a Browns game with friends, "I was at this Browns game and my wife was sitting on one side of me and there was this elderly lady with her son sitting and watching the game. This poor dear lady that was seated to my left, Rick had made some kind of a cocktail and we drank it on the way up to the game. I was feeling pretty good, it had been a long time since I had a drink. I started talking to this lady who wanted to do nothing other than to watch a Browns game and I started spilling out my life story.. By the end of the day, I was getting more and more upset thinking that Marcia was willing to throw our family away. "

Mammone said he told Marcia before they got married that I felt adultery was something that you could kill someone over, as big as murder. Mammone testified he told his wife, "If you ever cheat on me I'll kill you."

"When we were talking about having children I also said it would never be acceptable to me to have the children raised in a home where they didnt have mommy and daddy together as husband and wife. I said it was something I am willing to die for, more willing to have our children in heaven, pure, than to see them go through what other children of broken homes had gone through."

Mammone went on to say, "I still feel and felt very strongly that she wasnt very able to pick out faults in people and could be duped by people who were harmful to my children. I trusted that she would always want to keep the kids safe, but didnt have faith that she would be able to avoid that."

"People were just constantly telling Marcia that it was ok. I was very clear the actions that I would take that I would absolutely see my children dead before I see them go through the tragedies of a broken home."

Mammone Not Dealing Well With Divorce

Late Tuesday afternoon Mammone testifed he was rarely apart from his wife and he wasn't prepared for and didn't do well with it

Mammone said, "My feelings were genuinely shock and depression, I was having spells of aggressiveness. I couldn't stop thinking about violent means of doing this as well, I was really shocked by how underhanded I perceived this whole thing to be, Marcia planning to sneak out the back door and hiding it from me for months. I had all these emotions about being betrayed and being abandoned and had a ton of emotions for my children. That first week as a way to quell my emotions I went shopping at a farming supply store and bought a couple of things like a long pick axe. The handle that you saw..I drilled holes in it drove nails through it...later thinking that was off the wall."

"During the summer, I was pretty vocal about killing Marcia. Mammone said he people, hired a lawyer and started going to a court appointed domestic violence therapy and was pretty open about threatening his wife and that he meant it. There seemed to be a strong willingness of people to dismiss that, Mammone testified."

He told the jury that his probation officer even told him, You are a good guy and you didnt mean it."

Citing the book of Jobe, Mammone testified that he justified his murderous plan with his own spiritual beliefs.

"I believe in divine fatalism Mammone testified, "That everything is the will of God and that man has free will. I believe in the Devil but the devil cannot do anything that God doesnt allow to happen."

Mammone testified about what he called 6 acts of God that he interpreted as telling him not to harm Marcia. "It seemed that every time i tried to do anything something would happen that was God telling me not to hurt Marcia. I was trying not to stalk her, I was trying to keep tabs on her, going to her parents house to see what cars were in the driveway and who was with the children At this time I had no thoughts of aggression towards anyone else (including his children and former mother-in-law)."

"I was understanding of her place taking the children in and protecting them, but as the summer went on I was more and more put out and was trying to communicate with them that I was having bad thoughts about doing things that seemed reasonable...not reasonable but necessary..."

"For me to go 30 days without seeing my children, that was so hard for me," Mammone testified that he went to a lawyer to get a visitation schedule.

"The first day the children were brought to me that lasted about 20 minutes, I had to call my mother...being around the children for the first time in 30 days....I started sobbing....i couldnt do anything but look at them, I couldnt speak, couldnt do anything."

"There was also a factor where their mother wasnt around, here's my children and their mother wasnt around, had no intention of being around and that was something I couldnt digest." Mammone said, "I didnt have children to raise them with the assistance of my mother. I had children to raise them with the assistance of my wife like we promised God we would."

On a subseqent visit he said he was more prepared for what he was dealing with and obviously loved being with my children and they loved having their father in their life.

Before His Testimony

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

As he did during his trial last week, Mammone entered the courtroom smiling. On the day of the murders in June, he confessed to police that he killed his 3-year-old son James IV, 5-year-old daughter Macy and his 57-year-old former mother-in-law Margaret Eakin.

Jurors on Thursday deliberated for only about four hours before returning guilty verdicts on all of seven counts against Mammone with specifications that elevated it to a possible death penalty. Judge John Haas on Tuesday described it to jurors as "aggravating circumstances."

During the trial, Mammone's attorneys called no witnesses and did not challenge any of the evidence or testimony presented by prosecutors.

His attorneys are expected to call witnesses during the sentencing phase in an effort to spare Mammone's life.

"James Mammone III has been convicted of three different charges of aggravated murder," Haas told jurors, advising that each charge has to be considered separately.

Mammone has shown no emotion, no remorse to this point. On a voicemail message he left for a friend shortly after committing the murders, Mammone himself said "no regrets, no regrets."
He confessed that he killed the children and Mrs. Eakin because he knew it would deal a major blow to his ex-wife following their divorce in April.

In opening statements, prosecutor Chryssa Hartnett first reminded jurors that Mammone forcibly broke into the home of Margaret Eakin for the purpose of committing the murder. The act of breaking into the home with a weapon is an aggravating circumstance in the case and elevates the severity of the crime.

She also reminded jurors that they convicted him in the murders of his son and daughter, both of whom are under the age of 13, which by law, is another aggravating circumstance and also elevates the severity of the crime.

"When you weigh the aggravating circumstances, you will determine there is only one outcome," Hartnet told the jury. "You will find beyond a reasonable doubt that the aggravating circumstances outweigh the mitigating circumstances (testimony that Mammone's defense presented) and the ultimate maximum penalty is warranted -- the sentence of death."

Mammone's defense attorney Derel Lowry opened his case by telling jurrors this is "the most difficult decision we ask jurors to make," adding, it is "not a complicated decision."