OSWEGO, NY – The prosecution rested its case today (Jan. 19) in the Joyce Malone murder trial.
Malone, 70, is charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of her husband, Ralph, of March 19, 2010.
Assistant District Attorney Gregory Oakes rested his case after calling seven witnesses. They included an EMT with the Oswego Town Volunteer Fire Department, a sheriff’s department investigator, the corrections officer who processed Malone into Oswego County Jail, the doctor at the Onondaga County Medical Examiner’s office who autopsied Ralph Malone, the Oswego County Sheriff and the defendant’s daughter and son-in-law.
In his opening statement, Oakes said Malone made a deliberate choice to do what she did.
As her husband took a nap on the couch, she “made sure that he never woke up again,” he told the eight women and four men (and two male alternates) on the jury.
She wasn’t suffering from extreme emotional distress, he said, adding “She was in control. There was no lack of control. She chose to end her husband’s life. She chose to wait until he was asleep.”
After she killed her husband, she “wasn’t crying, wasn’t upset, wasn’t agitated,” he continued.
However, defense attorney Jim Eby said Joyce Malone was subjected to a pattern of abuse that was established on her wedding day (June 27, 1959) and continued through the couple’s 51-year marriage.
“She was his wife; she was to submit to him,” Eby said. Her husband controlled her down to what under garments she could wear, he continued.
Her husband also tapped the phone at their gun shop business so he could overhear her conversations, didn’t allow her to associate with divorced women because she might pick up the wrong ideas, said it was acceptable for him to have relations outside the marriage and more, the defense attorney said.
Joyce Malone suffered from “extreme emotional disturbance” and didn’t realize what she was doing when she killed her husband, Eby said.
“On the day she cracked, she had learned hopelessness and helplessness. She had learned how to suppress and deny her own feelings. Everything burst out in a single act of violence that day (March 19, 2010) and overwhelmed her,” he said.
“She was very much calm and in control (on March 19, 2010),” Oakes countered.
His witnesses described Joyce Malone as being calm.
Under questioning by Oakes, Brenda Eddy described her mother’s demeanor as “fine” adding that she didn’t seem upset about anything. Her husband, John, testified that when he got to the house, “I saw my father-in-law . . . he appeared to be dead. I asked Joyce if she was OK and she said, ‘I am fine.’”
Eby attempted to begin his defense shortly after the lunch break. However, it never really got going as he and Oswego County Court Judge Walter Hafner squabbled over certain points of law.
At one point, the judge admonished the attorney saying, “Your understanding of the law is different than the court’s understanding.”
At about 2:20 p.m., Eby began questioning Dr. Renato Mandanas, a physician who had treated Joyce Malone. He attempted to have an approximately 60-page document of about a decade of reports detailing Mrs. Malone’s medical history entered into evidence.
The jury was excused.
Oakes objected, citing the hearsay of the document. The doctor had actually seen Malone about three times over the period and the other reports were prepared by others with what could have been second, third or fourth-hand information, the judge agreed.
Eby maintained it was an office document and as such was admissible.
Hafner quoted a ruling that said hearsay is still hearsay even if it is contained in an office document. The report wasn’t allowed into evidence.
The jury was brought back into the courtroom at 3:40 p.m.
Eby resumed questioning Dr. Mandanas. He testified that he had actually seen Malone in his office three times – once in 2000, once in 2001 and once in 2002. In February 2004, he wrote a prescription (for depression) for her, but for another doctor; he didn’t actually meet with her.
The trial will resume Thursday morning. The defense is expected to call nine witnesses.
It’s possible Malone may testify on her own behalf.