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UPDATE: Malone Case Goes To The Jury

UPDATE: Joyce Malone’s fate is now in the hands of the jury.

The eight-woman, four-man panel received its final instructions from Oswego County Court Judge Walter Hafner shortly before 5 p.m. today (Jan. 21).

Because of the late hour, the jury was excused for the weekend.

They will return to court next week to begin their deliberations in earnest.

The 70-year-old Oswego Town resident is charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of her husband last March.

Thursday’s article below:

OSWEGO, NY – A Syracuse psychiatrist said Joyce Malone suffered extreme emotional distress on March 19, 2010.

Malone testified that she remembers very little from the afternoon on the day she shot and killed her husband, Ralph.

The 70-year-old Oswego Town resident is charged with second-degree murder.

She testified that the abuse began on their wedding day. She had wanted to go to a hotel for their wedding night. He went to his parents’ place instead, “because it didn’t cost any money,” she said.

How long did the pattern last, defense attorney Jim Eby asked.

“The rest of my married life,” she replied. “Any time he thought I did something wrong, he called me names.”

He controlled what she watched on TV, what clothes she could wear, who she talked to and what she ate, she added.

She said she considered divorce once back in the late 1960s. But her father talked her out of it, she noted, adding that if she had gone through with it, she was afraid Ralph would have hunted her down and killed her.

She described the trance like feeling she experience March 19, 2010. She only remembers snippets of that afternoon and doesn’t recall shooting her husband. The way she remembers pieces of the day is like she’s watching someone else, she said.

“Did you ever plan to kill your husband?” Eby asked.

“No, no,” she replied.

Dr. Norman Lesswing told the jury, “It was extreme emotional disturbance. I have no other explanation as to why she shot her husband. Any comment could have broken the dam; when the dam breaks, there’s a loss of control.”

Eby called almost a half dozen witnesses today (Jan. 20) who testified about Ralph Malone’s temper, how he blamed his wife for things that went wrong and how he controlled every aspect of her life.

Family friend Ben Beginski told of how Ralph had knocked down a bird house with a backhoe and blamed Joyce for not being there to watch and guide him.

Joyce’s sister, Velma “Louise” Auger testified about how Ralph flew into a tirade because the dinner table wasn’t set the way he wanted.

Auger said her sister had been fun-loving, mischievous and had a sparkle of life in her eyes prior to her marriage. After Joyce married Ralph and was subjected to his mental abuse, “The sister I knew was gone,” Auger testified. “It was difficult for her to show any emotion or pleasure.”

Joyce wasn’t the only family member that experienced Ralph’s temper. The couple’s daughter, Brenda Eddy, testified about the time she withdrew from a race for local political office.

Her father came to her workplace and told her if she didn’t have time to run for political office, “you’re not welcome in my house!” she said.

“I didn’t know what to say. If I’m not welcome in your house, then you’re not welcome to see your granddaughter,” she said she replied.

The jury also heard testimony about how Joyce had to submit to sex any time her husband wanted.

The couple’s other daughter, Barbara Visco, testified that she was talking with her mother one time and she cut her off in mid-sentence.

“I’ve got to go, your dad just dropped his pants,” she testified her mother told her.

All of the witness testified that Ralph Malone verbally abused his wife, often with profanity-laden rants.

Assistant District Attorney Gregory Oakes asked Joyce if she had any flashbacks to the incident, any nightmares or difficulty concentrating since her husband’s death. She said she didn’t.

“You can watch TV as you chose now,” Oakes said. “Yes,” she replied.

“Did you love Ralph?” he asked. “Yes,” she said.

“Did you also hate him?” he continued. “No, no, he was my husband,” she said.

She admitted she didn’t like his foul mouth and how he controlled her, “I had to do what he wanted when he wanted to do it,” she said.

She added she didn’t enjoy sex with Ralph but saw it as her “duty,” her “job.”

Oakes asked if her husband every slapped or punched her. “No,” she replied. “But he threatened to many times.”

Joyce went on a cruise and also took a trip to Africa a few years ago with her sister.

That didn’t sound like her husband kept her on a short leash, Oakes said.

“It was only two trips – in 50 years,” Joyce pointed out.

Dr. Lesswing told the jury that Joyce “had learned over time to shut down and suppress her emotions to the point where she wasn’t aware of them. She adopted a pattern of submission, like some hostages do. She took it; she was passive and non-assertive. She basically lost who she was.”

Testimony will continue Friday with Oakes cross-examining the psychiatrist.