Defense details abuse child killer suffered in her own childhood

By Evan Sernoffsky

Angela McAnulty, 41, pleaded guilty to murdering her daughter.

When Angela McAnulty was only 5 years old her mother was stabbed 29 times. Defense attorney Ken Hadley described the unsolved murder of Nancy Feusi in an attempt to spare McAnulty’s life for the murder of her own 15-year-old daughter, Jeanette Maples.

On Feb. 1, McAnulty pleaded guilty to the crime. Deputy District Attorney Erik Hasselman spent the first several days of McAnulty’s sentencing trial detailing the years of brutal beatings, starvation and other horrors Jeanette suffered at the hands of her mother.

The defense outlined McAnulty’s troubled childhood and how the abuse she suffered as a child came full circle with her own daughter. Hadley spoke in a somber tone about the events that shaped McAnulty. He told jurors that it was not an excuse, but asked them to give McAnulty life in prison rather than condemn her to death.

McAnulty’s brothers tearfully recalled the suffering they experienced at the hands of their abusive father, Jerry Feusi. At one point their mother took the kids away to stay in a hotel room but they were returned to Feusi after she was murdered. Many of the things that McAnulty did to her daughter, such as locking up food and beating her with a belt, were things that her father did to her and her brothers.

Before resting his case earlier in the day, Hasselman called sheriff’s deputies Kellie Rahm and Kathy Remington, who described Angela McAnulty as an insincere manipulator while she’s been in jail awaiting trial.

The prosecution drew attention to McAnulty’s behavior in jail in an effort to show that she poses a continuing threat to society, a necessary criteria for the death penalty.  Rahm said that McAnulty’s overall demeanor was extremely submissive. “She was sheepish and apologetic … so much so that it became insincere and theatrical,” she said. Even though McAnulty exhibited passive behavior, she repeatedly defied prison policy by passing items to other inmates and visiting with them when she was not allowed.

“Frequently she would stick out her lower lip like a little child,” Rahm said.

Rahm testified that McAnulty walked a fine line between following prison rules and trying to make friends with the other female inmate – who initially didn’t like her – by passing items under their cell doors.

McAnulty engaged in “deputy shopping,” in which she would try to find guards who were sympathetic to her when submitting inmate request forms. At one point she told Cynthia Young, a mental health specialist at the Lane County Jail, that “some deputies don’t like her,” Rahm said.

According to the jail’s deputy log, McAnulty was extremely confused and emotional when she first arrived more than a year ago. She was placed on suicide watch and not allowed around other female inmates in her area of the prison.

McAnulty was eventually taken off suicide watch and could socialize with other inmates whom she got along with well. “Once she had time to make friends, she had a pretty good time,” Rahm said.

The prosecution rested its case after Rahm and Remington’s testimony.

Defense attorney Stephen Krasik made a motion to throw out the case against McAnulty after the jury had left the courtroom. He argued that the state had not demonstrated that McAnulty poses a continuing threat of violence to others because all of her behavior in jail was nonviolent.

Judge Kip Leonard denied the motion.

This article originally appeared here.

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About evan1983

Evan Sernoffsky is a freelance journalist in Sacramento, California.
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