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In Johnston courtroom, mother watches as children tell of daily beatings

Posted May 28, 2008
Updated May 29, 2008

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— A 9-year-old girl and an 11-year-old boy said Wednesday that the Johnston County woman accused of killing their little brother two years ago beat them almost every day.

Lynn Paddock, 47, is charged with murder in the Feb. 26, 2006, death of her 4-year-old adopted son, Sean. Investigators said Sean suffocated after she wrapped him tightly in a blanket to keep him from wandering around the house at night.

Defense attorneys insist the death was accidental, not punishment or discipline.

Hannah Paddock, Sean's biological sister who was placed with the Paddock family in 2005 along with Sean and their older brother, David Vorenkamp, testified Wednesday to the abuse she suffered at the hands of Lynn Paddock.

Dressed in a denim jacket top and a pink skirt, a bubbly Hannah demonstrated for jurors how she was forced to sit crossed-legged for hours facing a wall. She also said Lynn Paddock once forced her to eat feces after she had defecated in her room – she wasn't allowed to use the bathroom alone.

"She made me put it in a bag before, and then I had to get it out and eat it," she said.

David, who has since been adopted by another family, spoke primarily in monosyllables when discussing his time in the Paddock household. He said he recalled "the spanking rod" most of all

Authorities have said Lynn Paddock beat her stepdaughter and six adopted children with PVC piping.

"She was mean," said David, who wore a dress shirt, tie and slacks.

"I tried not to scream because I didn't want to get spanked again," Hannah said about being hit with the white rod.

In response to defense questions, both children said their adoptive father, Johnny Paddock, was at home when the beatings occurred. Hannah said she wasn't sure if he heard them going on.

Kayla Paddock, 11, another adopted child, testified that Lynn Paddock would tape her mouth shut and tape her hands together. She also forced the children to jump on a trampoline for hours and would beat them if they moved their arms or faced the wrong direction while jumping.

"She wouldn’t let us play or talk to anyone. I just had to sit or jump on the (trampoline) all day," she said.

Kayla also described undergoing the same blanket-wrapping technique that authorities said killed Sean.

"I was afraid (to go to sleep) because every night I’d be wrapped up real tight with a blanket, and it was hard," she said, noting that a bookcase was placed on top of her feet so she couldn't kick herself free.

Superior Court Judge Knox Jenkins ruled Tuesday that the Paddock children couldn't testify via closed-circuit television and had to face Lynn Paddock in the courtroom.

Lynn Paddock took extensive notes and frequently conferred with her attorneys during their testimony. At times, she laid her head down on the defense table or dabbed tears from her eyes.

Earlier in the day, a string of investigators testified about the scene at the Paddock's farmhouse near Smithfield and about the demeanor of Lynn and Johnny Paddock at Johnston Memorial Hospital after Sean's death.

Detective Chris Otto said that, when he arrived at the hospital, he told the Paddocks he was sorry to hear about Sean's death. He said Lynn Paddock's first response was to walk to a nearby phone and ask, "Do I need to call a lawyer?"

Deputy Richard Reliford testified that the Paddocks were agitated at the hospital because they couldn't see Sean. They wanted to hurry home and told Reliford authorities shouldn't go inside their home without a search warrant, he said.

Reliford said he noticed scrapes and bruises on Sean's body and began to question the Paddocks for his official report. Lynn Paddock appeared to be angry and asked why so many questions were being asked, he said.

Meanwhile, back at the Paddock house, Lt. Brian Murphy and Deputy Terry Baker tried to secure the area for a death investigation by herding the other six Paddock children into patrol cars.

Murphy said the children were unusually quiet, noting most children ask questions when law enforcement officers are around. Baker said he noticed the children smelled strongly of body odor and said an older girl frequently whispered to the younger children but that the children remained quiet most of the time.

Paramedics who responded to a 911 call about an unresponsive boy took the stand Tuesday in the first day of testimony in the trial, saying it was clear Sean had been dead for quite a while before they arrived at the house. The boy was bluish in color, was cold to the touch and was stiff, they said.

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  • nursevb8 May 29, 2008

    Jack O'Hale is grabbing at straws for ANY defense. He knows she is guilty and the testimony of these other children more than proves it. Why would this monster of a woman be allowed to adopt 6 children anyway? They were evidently home schooled so, was this woman qualified to home school? Everyone needs to open their eyes, maybe not to beating marks, but normal children are not quiet like mice and emotionless for no reason.

  • Imagine 722 May 29, 2008

    This is heartbreaking. I actually went to school with Jessy. She was so sincere and sweet, and you would have never been able to tell what was going on in this family. It's disgusting that a parent could do this. It seems like the only reason she adopted these children was so she COULD beat them. She had NO RIGHT to do that to any of them, or take that little boy's life. God didn't put children on this earth to be abused or murdered. She deserves to get the death penalty, and from there burn slowly in hell. Just like she made her kids suffer.

  • Adelinthe May 29, 2008

    "...give the so-called father 20 years in prison. He was there and had to know what was going on. Plus he did not bother to stop his wife in her abuse of the children finally killing one."

    I AGREE!!! In fact, he did not divorce her until she was jailed...unless he was afraid of her too. Mighta been.

    God bless.

    Rev. RB

  • elizadushkufan85 May 29, 2008

    I don't know how Jack O Hale is pleading that Sean's Death was accidental.

    Abuse is NOT accidental and neither was Sean's death. Lynn Paddock should spend the rest of her life in prison and I think her husband should be brought up on charges as well.

  • Adelinthe May 29, 2008

    This woman is stark raving crazy, and I'm surprised her attorneys having tried that loophole yet.

    Praying for these poor children and for any others living in this kind of domestic terror. Praying they are found by authorities before they are killed by an insane parent or guardian.

    God bless.

    Rev. RB

  • Dr. Dataclerk May 29, 2008

    Historians_13th I love your comment. They always go after the wrong person as in your case. Never do they bother to check and recheck on people that are actually abusing children. So I would like to know why? You place these children in these supposed to be home and good parents and no checking back? Meantime they receive checks. Again WHY?

  • Dr. Dataclerk May 29, 2008

    Give her life in prison and give the so-called father 20 years in prison. He was there and had to know what was going on. Plus he did not bother to stop his wife in her abuse of the children finally killing one.

  • TStills May 29, 2008

    This broad is pure class. No two ways about it....she's the Gold Standard when it comes to high class women.

  • Dr. Dataclerk May 29, 2008

    I sure hope the judge and jury sentence this evil woman to life in prison. She never thought the best witnesses would be the children against her. Bravo to the children not being afraid to tell all what she done to them. May they find a loving family with peace for them all.

  • steelslinger512 May 29, 2008

    I hope she gets life... Anything below that would not be enough..

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