Photo by Elaine Rackley: Wanda Stanley openly wept, Wednesday, as she listened to her children testify about the physical, sexual and verbal abuse they witnessed in their home. Stanley is accused of fatally shooting her husband.
The Wanda Stanley murder trail is scheduled to resume, Thursday, in Henry County Superior Court, with Dr. Marti Loring, nationally known as a trauma expert, according to Henry County Public Defender Gary Bowman.
“She has written books on Battered Women Syndrome,” said Bowman, who is defending Stanley with an argument that she killed her husband, John, in self-defense, allegedly because he verbally and physically abused her, for years.
Testimony was given by two of Stanley’s children in her defense Wednesday, but was interrupted when a Henry County Superior Court Judge threatened to jail a family member of the deceased victim. She is suspected of taking notes of testimony and sharing it with Lillian Stanley, the deceased man’s mother. Lillian Stanley is also scheduled to testify.
Wanda Stanley, a former medical technician, is on trial for malice murder and felony murder in the death of her husband, John Stanley, Sr. The 45-year-old man’s body was found in his vehicle, in College Park, on Dec. 26, 2008.
Presiding Judge Brian Amero asked a woman, he identified as Shanequa Harris, if she was sharing her notes with Lillian Stanley of what was going on in the courtroom. “... I would have to find you in contempt of court, which could be jail time,” Amero sternly warned. The woman denied any wrongdoing.
Wanda Stanley’s children, James Archer, 22, and Tammy Stanley, 21, gave graphic testimony about alleged abuse by their father, a former boxing coach and truck driver. Wanda Stanley openly wept as she listened.
“I’ve seen him punch her, slap her, choke her, pull her hair,” said a tearful Tammy Stanley, who is pregnant. She said her father had little education, and often needed her assistance in reading documents. “[Once], I was in my bedroom. I heard a loud scream, I saw my mom on the floor and my dad was punching her. I rushed over and tried to stop him. Eventually, he stopped. She could not move the next day.” As a result of the beating, her mother suffered a dislocated shoulder, and her father told her not to help her mother, she testified.
“Her shoulder was hanging and she had blood on her pajamas ... Her arm was hanging as if the bone was sticking out.”
James Archer told the court he has seen his father’s verbal and physical abuse of his mother, as well as of his brother, sister, and at times, himself.
Earlier this week, prosecutors played a videotape of Wanda Stanley confessing to fatally shooting her husband, but providing different versions of what happened. Jurors watched Stanley on a large screen tell police what allegedly happened. She told the officers that she would take them to the place where she hid the murder weapon.
In response to the videotaped interview, Henry County Detective John Thacker –– on the witness stand –– was questioned about discrepancies in Wanda Stanley’s statements.
“The location [for the gun] she described was on Highway 155,” said Thacker. “That’s not where she took us. She took us to Locust Grove/ Hampton Road, to a vacant lot.”
Thacker said she gave three different versions of what happened the night of the killing.
“A Crime Scene Technician Nelson [reported] ... one bullet collected from the back of the driver’s seat,” said Thacker in his testimony.
A prosecution expert, Jerry Finley, who is president of Finley Consultants, and once worked at the Georgia Public Safety Training Center, where he instructed officers in forensic science and death investigations, testified that “... the shooter was at the side door.”
He said he reached the conclusion based on the trajectory of the bullet. He maintained that John Stanley’s shooter had to be standing outside of the couple’s car. Wanda Stanley has told police she shot her husband from inside the vehicle.
Finley also testified that, based on the blood stains, John Stanley’s body had been moved after his death, to make it appear he was killed inside the SUV where police found him.