Jesse L. Livingston

Defendant's outburst interrupts trial

August 9, 2006

An emotional outburst by the defendant interrupted a murder trial Tuesday before the first witness took the stand.

Geraldine A. Livingston began to sob as the Tippecanoe County prosecutor's staff started setting up audio equipment in preparation to play a recording of a 911 call involving the death of her estranged husband, Jesse Livingston.

Judge Don Johnson of Tippecanoe Superior Court 1 dismissed jurors from the courtroom, hoping that Livingston would calm down. But when the prosecutor's staff began playing the 911 recording to test the equipment, the defendant erupted in loud groans. 

Livingston, 43, is charged with murder in connection with the Oct. 21, 2004, fatal shooting of her husband, who had left her two months earlier.

Courthouse bailiffs restrained Livingston, who is in custody, while family members attempted to calm her down. But eventually, she had to be led out of the courtroom.

Johnson dismissed jurors for the day at 2:50 p.m. and will attempt to resume the trial at 8:15 this morning.

He directed the Tippecanoe County Jail staff to have Livingston evaluated by a psychiatrist overnight to see if she can proceed with the trial.

If she is unable to keep her composure, Johnson likely will have to declare a mistrial. The judge told attorneys there's too much at stake in a murder trial to allow it to proceed without the defendant present.

Before opening statements in the case, Graham already had conceded that Livingston had shot her husband. He spent much of his time during jury selection coaching prospective jurors on the difference between murder -- intentionally killing another human being -- and manslaughter, which Indiana law defines as killing another person "in sudden heat."

"It's a manslaughter -- not a murder," Graham told jurors during his opening statement. "This is not a murder. This not a hit. This is not a drive-by. This is not a sniper shooting."

But John Meyers, chief deputy prosecutor, argued there is evidence, including the fact that Livingston bought the .38-caliber handgun nine days before the shooting, that the killing was planned.

Meyers said the evidence would show that Livingston fired four shots at her husband from the doorway to his apartment. One bullet struck him in the chest; another in his back. Two others went into the apartment floor. Then she fled the scene and called her daughter.

Two passersby discovered Jesse Livingston, 29, lying in the doorway of his apartment building in the 1300 block of North 15th Street, calling for help. He died in surgery later at St. Elizabeth Medical Center.

"There's no evidence of anything that could remotely be called provocation" by Jesse Livingston, Meyers said. "His only offense was not wanting to be married to the defendant."

(This was the only information I could find on dear Jesse.  Any other information or memories added to the comments would be appreciated greatly.)


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