Friday, August 15, 2008

Death penalty phase of Rhonda Norman's trial delayed


Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Friday, August 15, 2008

WEST PALM BEACH — A judge this afternoon agreed to delay the death penalty phase of Rhonda Norman's trial that was scheduled to start next week.

Both Norman's defense lawyers have had urgent family emergencies since Norman's conviction last month in the stabbing death of her ex-boyfriend's mother, Jane Tackaberry, and the attack upon then 6-year-old Elijah Tackaberry, her grandson.

Circuit Judge Sandra McSorley said she will discuss rescheduling with jurors for early November.

Defense attorney Gregg Lerman will take over from defense attorney Michael Hanrahan the primary role of defending Norman.

The same panel that convicted Norman was scheduled to return next week to hear evidence and decide whether to recommend that Norman die for her crime or spend the rest of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Norman, 36, told police she planned the homicide to get back at her ex-boyfriend, John Tackaberry, for cheating on her and to get back at his cosmetologist mother for kicking her out of the house.

Police say Norman enlisted a man from the street, later identified as Wes McGee, to help in the attack. According to police, the pair entered Tackaberry's home and when they left, Jane Tackaberry was dead and little Elijah's throat was slashed. He survived.

Prosecutors are also seeking the death penalty against 23-year-old McGee, who has yet to go to trial. He is scheduled for trial Sept. 3. Public Defender Carey Haughwout asked McSorley Friday to delay his trial a few months to give his assistant public defenders more time to prepare.

Haughwout said McGee's attorneys had completed just a fraction of the work they needed to do to prepare for trial. Haughwout also cited prejudicial pre-trial publicity and inaccurate facts about McGee that came out during Norman's trial, saying time could help assuage those issues.

Assistant State Attorney Craig Williams questioned why after nearly six months of handling the case and generating stacks of reports, McGee's attorneys now say they haven't gotten work done. "I don't get what's going on," Williams said.

McSorley asked Haughwout to specify in writing more exact reasons for a delay before she will rule.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

McGee & Norman are evil, sickos who I hope and pray get rocked with the death penalty! I cannot wait.