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Defense Claims Theer Was Manipulated

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FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — The defense in the Michelle Theer murder trial opened its case today with a theory that Theer was manipulated.

Monday morning, the defense began its case by calling a psychologist who interviewed Theer right after her arrest. The doctor testified that Theer's lover, John Diamond, manipulated Theer, not the other way around.

Theer is charged with conspiring to kill her husband, Marty Theer. Diamond is already serving a life sentence.

Two of the five defense witnesses Monday gave passionate testimony.

Debbie Layton-Tholl, a clinical psychologist who interviewed Michelle Theer after her arrest, testified that Michelle Theer was torn between two men: her husband and her lover. In Layton-Tholl's opinion, Diamond was controlling Michelle Theer by playing and preying on her emotions.

Another witness, an Air Force officer, told the jury she was assigned to help Michelle Theer with the grieving process.

In her eyes, she testified that Theer was like any other heart-broken widow.

She testified that Theer would "go from zombie mode to complete hysterical crying."

She also said that Theer had "puffy eyes" and seemed "miserable."

Theer didn't show much emotion in court Monday. Periodically, she flipped through some papers or whispered to her lawyer.

If convicted, Theer will not face the death penalty.

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