Defense begins case in Walradt murder trial
June 11, 2008 · Updated 11:34 AM
"Attorneys for Brodie Walradt, accused of murdering his former fianceé, began their defense Tuesday by trying to get three aggravating factor charges against him dismissed.Members of the jury had barely taken their seats in the courtroom before attorney Stephan Illa made the request. Superior Court Judge Leonard Costello sent the jury out again while defense attorneys and prosecuors verbally battled about the dismissal.Illa argued that charges of escape from community custody, rape and robbery should be dismissed.Illa said that because forensic pathologist Dr. Emmanuel Lacsina couldn't determine if victim Beth Kennard was alive at the time, Walradt couldn't be guilty of rape. Judge Costello denied the request.Walradt is accused of aggravated first-degree murder in the death of Kennard, his 22-year-old former fiancee more than eight months pregnant with his child, on Sept. 17, 1999. He also faces charges of manslaughter in the death of their child, posthumously named Alexis Ann. Kennard died after being repeatedly bludgeoned, then suffocated, strangled and raped. Walradt could face the death penalty if found guilty.The first witness to testify for Walradt was Dr. Mark Whitehill, a clinical psychologist experienced in working with sex offenders.He said he worked with Walradt in 1994, when Walradt was accused of second degree child molestation for having sex with a 12-year-old girl.Walradt's defense attorneys then tried to get him on the special Sex Offenders Sentencing Alternative, to attend treatment while his sentence was suspended, Whitehill said.Whitehill prepared a detailed clinical history, including information about a difficult childhood, with an early divorce and quick remarriage of his parents. His father was an alcoholic, who beat Walradt and his reportedly mildly mentally retarded sister Deanna.Rejected by both his parents' families, Walradt ended up on the streets at age 10, where he got involved in many criminal acts, including stealing, vandalism and others, Whitehill said.It was a very disturbed childhood in my judgement, with sexual abuse within his family of origin by the older sister, Whitehill said.The sexually inappropriate behavior in his childhood household formed a basis for a skewed sexual perception, Whitehill said.He said Walradt did not see the incident with the 12-year-old as child molestation because he believed she was 16, Whitehill said.Whitehill's diagnoses for Walradt included personality disorder not otherwise specified, with attendant passive/agressive (tendencies) with anti-social patterns, the results of a very dysfunctional childhood.Whitehill later testified that Walradt was not a psychopath, according to a diagnostic test he administered. "