Two vastly different versions of events surrounding the death of William Boze and the intentions and mental state of the woman who killed him were presented Wednesday to a Clallam County Superior Court jury.
For three hours, the jury of eight women and four men ¬– an additional male juror was made an alternate ¬– heard closing arguments in the second-degree murder trial of Andrea Freese before adjourning to the jury room.
Judge George L. Wood advised jurors that rubber gloves were available to handle especially bloody evidence.
Freese, a 34-year-old with paranoid personality disorder who says she hears voices, is charged with second-degree murder in the July 27, 2007, stabbing death of Boze, 73, at his west Port Angeles home.
Two years earlier, Freese’s age was discovered, and she was denied teen meal services at the Dream Center teen facility in Port Angeles where Boze volunteered.
He allowed her to stay with him on and off.
Freese, from Bremerton, could be sentenced to life in prison if convicted.
If the jury finds her not guilty of second-degree murder, the jurors could decide she is guilty of first-degree manslaughter, second-degree manslaughter or second-degree assault.
Prosecuting Attorney Deborah Kelly painted a derisive picture of a deceptive woman who engages in “that crazy girl stuff,” who perhaps even punched herself in the nose to provide an excuse for killing Boze.
Public Defender John Hayden repeatedly urged jurors to put themselves in Freese’s shoes and see her as a woman tormented by paranoia and staying with a man who repeatedly molested her and who punched her in the nose.
She killed him in self-defense without intending to do so, he said.
Dressed in pink
Freese, dressed in a pink sweater and wearing a tattoo on the back of her neck, listened passively to the presentations while a half dozen members of Boze’s family and Freese’s mother looked on.
Kelly said Boze, whose crippled leg Freese would massage, was “bloodily slaughtered” that July night, quoting her statements to authorities that “I wanted to hurt him really bad.”
According to testimony, they argued over changing a TV channel.
Freese went into the kitchen, grabbed a knife, came back into the living room and stabbed him.
She did not react immediately at the time of the assault and was no longer in danger while in the kitchen, a response inconsistent with a claim of self-defense, Kelly said.
Kelly said Boze was backing up, hands raised, when Freese stabbed him, according to her statements.
“When you look at the evidence in this case, virtually all of it is ambiguous,” Hayden responded.
“The ambiguity of evidence leads to reasonable doubt.”
Testimony was unrefuted from Dr. Brett Trowbridge of Western State Hospital, who examined Freese and rattled off report after report from other doctors who had treated Freese since 2003 and cited a list of mental maladies including paranoia, Freese’s assertion she had telepathy and that people were reading her mind.
A Kitsap County doctor called her “a very sick young woman” in 2003.
Western State refused to admit her.
“If Western State had opened its doors to her, would we be here today?” he asked. “That’s the real crime.”
Hayden reserved particular ire for Detective Steve Coyle of the Port Angeles Police Department, who interviewed Freese after she called 9-1-1 and while she was wearing clothing still bloody from the stabbing.
“She said, ‘They are vamping me, sucking the energy out of me,’ and he had the arrogance to tell her, ‘You are mentally ill? I don’t believe it,'” Hayden said, shouting. “That’s the problem with this interview.”
The authorities’ entire case “was designed to bring out what they think happened.”
Freese told Coyle that Boze punched her four or five times and may have broken her nose.
She admitted she “really hurt” Boze and that she was defending herself.
“She brings her whole mental history to this,” Hayden said.
Hayden said the nature of Boze’s fatal injury ¬– she severed an artery in Boze’s left arm — indicated she wasn’t aggressively stabbing him but was more flailing away.
As to her stabbing him while he backed away, her statement to police ¬– “I guess he put his hands up.” — was far less definite, Hayden said.
He quoted Freese as saying, “He’s doing everything he could possibly do to be sexual with me, and I’m still not sexual with him.”
According to testimony, Freese said Boze had groped her under her shirt while she was sleeping and cut the crotch out of her pants.
When he punched her, bloodying her nose and, she believed, possibly fracturing it, she reached a breaking point, Hayden suggested.
And the kitchen was only a few paces away from the living room in Boze’s tiny house, not really putting her out of danger, Hayden suggested.
But Kelly responded in her rebuttal that Trowbridge could not say with certainty that he had made the right diagnosis and had said she was not insane.
When Western State Hospital turned her away, doctors sent her somewhere else for treatment, so the hospital was not the villain, Kelly said.
Coyle, in his interview, was merely trying to get the facts about what happened and suspected Freese was inventing symptoms as he questioned her, Kelly said.
“She couldn’t say what she had done,” Kelly said. “She started on that crazy girl stuff. He was sticking to what happened.”
Kelly also said Freese was slandering Boze by suggesting he molested her, sullying the memory of a person who was providing her shelter, when there was no evidence.
“What gave her the right to be his executioner?” she said.
Freese smoked possibly two cigarettes before she called police, Kelly said.
Kelly speculated that during that time Freese could have thought of a plan:
Freese knew she’d killed Boze and couldn’t flee, so she could punch herself in the nose and claim self-defense.
“You don’t get to kill someone even if you are paranoid because you think they are vamping your energy,” Kelly said. “That’s not self-defense, and it’s not the law that you get to retaliate.”
Staff writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-417-3536 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.