As more prosecution witnesses testified on Thursday, attorneys in the Anthony Long trial honed in on his mental state in the hours before he killed his wife five years ago.
Long is charged with first-degree murder and rape in connection with the death of his estranged wife, Sonia, in August 2007. If convicted of that crime, he would spend the rest of his life in prison.
Longs attorney, Alec Carpenter, has said he will present evidence that his 40-year-old clients diminished (mental) capacity kept him from understanding that his actions were criminal.
A prosecution witness testified Thursday that Long went to Carolinas Medical Center-Randolph, the areas psychiatric emergency room, at least twice, including one visit just two days before Sonia Long was strangled.
On that last visit, Long told a nurse: Id like to strangle my wife. I pray about it. He also discussed with mental health professionals the effects drugs were having on him.
As attorneys on both sides questioned Patience Brumley, the triage nurse who admitted Long to CMC-Randolph, they tried to make contrasting points about the effects of the anti-depressive drugs Anthony Long had been prescribed.
Assistant District Attorney Clayton Jones pointed out that Anthony Longs medical records indicate he had no medication side effects.
But Carpenter pointed to words on an intake form that said Long had been doing worse since taking the anti-depressant Wellbutrin.
Another wrinkle in the trial: the presence in the courtroom of Kim Crespi, whose husband David Crespi, a former Charlotte banker, was convicted in 2006 of killing the couples twin daughters.
David Crespi is serving a sentence of life in prison without parole.
Kim Crespi, who has been observing the Long trial since it started on Monday, has said she believes the anti-depressant drugs her husband was taking caused the slayings. She told the Observer she thinks Longs case has similarities.
If David could have had any clue it would have made him become violent, things would be different today.
Crime scene investigators also found clues that corroborated earlier statements that Sonia Long feared her husband and planned to leave him for good.
In a minivan she was riding in, they discovered one page of a domestic violence restraining order.
They also found material printed for victims of domestic violence who are planning to leave their partners.
The cards and papers, which were displayed for the jury, included lists of things to take, like $50 in cash and a Social Security card. At the top of the page one sentence read: Are you afraid of your partner?
Wootson: 704-358-5046; Twitter: @CleveWootson
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