Local News

Theer Trial Resumes, But Focus Is On If Theer Will Testify

Posted November 22, 2004

— The Michelle Theer murder trial resumed Monday morning. The jury in the case has heard more than 40 witnesses so far. But, the big question is whether Theer will take the stand in her own defense.

Theer's relatives are concerned about her taking the stand in the trial in which she is accused of conspiring to kill her husband. Theer's mother is against her daughter testifying.

"I have concerns because the way she's been judged for every facial expression, every word she said for years, every tear she has or has not cried," said Ann Hoefler, Theer's mother. "I'm concerned about her getting on the stand."

Still, Hoefler said, Theer refused a plea bargain because she wanted jurors to hear her side of the story.

Experts say defense lawyers are constantly weighing the pros and cons of putting their clients on the stand.

"Defendants are like people," said Anthony Baker, a Campbell law professor. "There are all different kinds, different shades, they'll manage situations differently, they'll manage stress differently."

That's the challenge for defense attorneys: Take a chance or give the jury what it wants, Baker said.

"I don't think that there's any question that (the jury) wants to hear from the defendant and they want the defendant to, in that almost 'Perry Mason-esque' if I can go back a generation, in that half-moment, say the thing that frees the case or cracks it, if you would," Baker said. "There's no question that they want that."

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