A man who disregarded his attorney’s advice to plead guilty to killing his mother took the stand Thursday at the tail-end of his trial this week in Franklin County Common Pleas Court.
Robert L. Lindsey IV, 20, is charged with aggravated murder and murder in connection with the Feb. 20, 2013, stabbing death of 41-year-old Latonia Banner. Prosecutors said the attack was so vicious that the knife used was bent in the assault.
There has been no dispute in the trial before Judge Julie Lynch about who had killed Banner at her Northeast Side townhouse, but defense attorneys suggested in opening statements on Tuesday that their client had acted in self-defense after his mother came to his bedroom with two knives.
On the stand, Lindsey said he thought his mother was alive after the incident.
The jury is expected to begin deliberations today.
It was Lindsey who called 911 that afternoon and said that that his mother had been stabbed. When Columbus police arrived at 3856 Chestnut Ridge Loop, Lindsey was waiting for them on the front stoop.
He had been stabbed in the leg.
Officer Dana Houseberg testified that Lindsey told officers that he and Banner, 41, had argued but “he didn’t do anything to her.”
Officers found Banner on the floor of Lindsey’s cluttered upstairs bedroom. She had been repeatedly stabbed.
Lindsey told police the night of the incident that he had “never gotten into any type of fight like this” with his mother.
Before opening statements, defense lawyer Mark C. Collins told Lynch outside the jury’s presence that despite his urging to take a deal, Lindsey again had rejected a prosecution plea offer.
Details of that deal were not discussed in open court, but Lynch complimented Collins for what she said were his thorough efforts to resolve the case without going to trial.
“The court understands how hard you have worked on this,” she said.
Court documents show that Collins had argued late last year that Lindsey was not competent to stand trial, but Lynch ruled in April that he understood the proceedings and could aid in his own defense.
Assistant Prosecutor Jennifer D. Hunt said in her opening statement that the deadly dispute between mother and son began with text messages that Banner had discovered on Lindsey’s phone. She said Lindsey confessed to the stabbing but suggested to jurors that his statement to police was self-serving.
While he told police that he had stabbed his mother “once or twice,” Hunt said, “she had over a dozen stab injuries on her body.” Seven of them, she said, were in Banner’s neck and back.
Brandon Shroy, who is defending Lindsey with Collins, told jurors in his opening that “Robert had issues with his mother.”
“In many ways, she was Robert’s world,” Shroy said.
In a recorded statement, Lindsey told police the night of the incident that his mom had stabbed him with a fork, beat him multiple times and left him on the side of a freeway when he was younger.
When Banner came to his room that day, armed and enraged, Lindsey “didn’t have time to consider what to do,” Shroy said. “He reacted.”
He said Lindsey stabbed his mother after getting one of the knives away from Banner. Lindsey told police he did not have a history of domestic abuse.
By Theodore Decker - The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio (MCT)
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