Statement to police: Stephon Lindsay killed daughter under "orders" from "Yahweh"
BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - "She's in a bag," Stephon Lindsay told police. "I just did what I was told to do."
Those two sentences were part of a disturbing confession to police shown to the jurors in day 1 of the Etowah County capital murder trial of Stephon Lindsay of Gadsden. The "she" was his own toddler daughter, Maliyah Lindsay, and he claimed he was told to do it by his god, Yahweh.
Lindsay killed his daughter in March 2013, then dumped her body in an area known for illegal dumping. For that he's been indicted for capital murder, and has pleaded not guilty, and not guilty by mental disease or defect.
No one is disputing Lindsay did it--not his attorneys, not even Lindsay himself, based on the video statement shown to jurors. His attorneys, however, are arguing he suffered from mental disease, a claim disputed by the prosecutors.
Prosecutors called Gadsden police detective Wayne Hammonds to the stand. Hammonds, the lead investigator on the case, recalled how the case went from a missing persons case to a homicide. After a search for a day or so, Hammonds says he found Lindsay at the home of a relative. He says Lindsay told him, "I will tell you what you need to know, but you will need to record this."
Hammonds says the interview lasted one hour and 57 minutes. Jurors only saw a roughly ten minute set of clips from the interview, however, edited under orders from Circuit Judge Billy Ogletree to eliminate material not relevant to the case. Hammonds says much of the excised material was simply Lindsay describing his religious beliefs in detail.
Lindsay told police he didn't want to killed his 20-month-old daughter, but said "I only did what he told me to do to her...he wanted me to get rid of her." He said the teachings of Yahweh indicated "Whoever did not have the family name will die."
"I tried to make her right by him," he told police. "He didn't want her."
Earlier, Tasmine Thomas, Lindsay's former girlfriend and the mother of Maliyah and another child by Lindsay, testified he named both children so the "yah" in "Yahweh" would be included. She testified when she was recovering from her second childbirth and a c-section, Lindsay told her he was taking Maliyah to his sister's house.
Lindsay told police while Thomas slept, he killed her in the family apartment at Emma Sansom Homes in the Alabama City section of Gadsden. He said he used a hatchet from his collection of large knives, and held his hand over her mouth when she tried to scream. Lindsay said he cleaned up the blood with liquid bleach and laundry detergent.
In the video, Lindsay is heard giving directions to the wooded area off Plainview Avenue where he threw her body out of his car,by then placed into an old duffel bag.
Sgt. Teri Farris testified Lindsay was brought to the scene on Bretwood Avenue where he said he had thrown the swords used to kill Maliyah. Police found two that night, then stayed on the until morning. Lindsay was brought back for another search when a third sword was found. Also found: shredded notes that appeared to be religious writings of some sort. Lindsay admitted they were his and said he didn't need them anymore.
Tasmine Thomas had testified Lindsay carried around the writings in a green binder.
Farris testified while at the scene, Lindsay described how he killed Maliyah, even motioning how he sliced her throat, moving his hand back and forth over the hands of then-county task force commander Rob Savage.
Defense witnesses asked few questions of the detectives, mainly establishing Lindsay was always cooperative with police.
Testimony resumes Friday. Judge Ogletree has imposed a gag order on those involved with the case.
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