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Children face Paddock in court


Children face Paddock in court

Four recount abuse for jurors

Mandy Locke, Staff Writer

SMITHFIELD - Kayla Paddock remembered seeing her little brother Sean screaming, bound in blankets in the dark kitchen of their farmhouse.

Kayla, now 11, told jurors Wednesday that she had worried about Sean. Lynn Paddock had bound her before, too, Kayla testified, and she knew how scary it could be.

Kayla, one of Paddock's six adopted children, described how she found Sean the morning he died, stiff legged and not breathing, wrapped in blankets on the kitchen floor.

The testimony came Wednesday as four of Paddock's adoptive children testified against her at her first-degree murder trial. Paddock is accused of torturing 4-year-old Sean by binding him so tightly in blankets that he suffocated. Her children have accused her of beating them with plastic plumbing pipe, forcing them to exercise for hours on end and taping their mouths shut to keep them quiet. Each child offered his or her own story Wednesday.

Paddock dabbed her eyes as the children spoke. By the afternoon, her face was blotched from crying. She scribbled furiously on a notepad, turning it toward her attorneys as the children described one incident after another of her discipline.

Kayla told jurors that she had wrestled free of her own wrappings the morning Sean died. She tiptoed downstairs so as to not stir her mother. Kayla said she saw Sean barricaded by a cardboard "puppet tent." His legs were pointed straight in the air.

"I pushed [his legs] down and they came right back up," Kayla said, her voice barely above a whisper.

Kayla said she then pressed on Sean's chest, hoping to feel it rise and fall. It didn't. She scurried back to her room, terrified, wrapping herself back in blankets to wait for morning.

Kayla sneaked glances in court at Paddock, the woman who once welcomed her into her home after another adoptive family turned her away and kept her twin. Kayla's new mother stood at her side, caressing her hand, as the girl offered grim descriptions of life with Paddock.

"I noticed that if I cried, I'd get beaten more, and if I didn't, she let off a little," Kayla said.

Sean's two biological siblings Hannah, 9, and David, 11, shared their horrors, too.

Hannah, giggly and cheerful in a hot pink skirt, turned shy when prosecutors pressed her on being forced to eat her own feces and sit in a pan of her urine.

Hannah told jurors she had to go to the bathroom so badly one morning that she wet and soiled her bed, then threw her feces on the floor of her bedroom.

"Then, this gross thing happened," Hannah said, turning quiet and looking away, before whispering that she'd had to eat her feces.

On the witness stand, David sat still as a statue, offering little more than a yes or no when prosecutor Paul Jackson asked him about his time with Paddock.

"Are you happy you don't live [with the Paddocks] anymore?" Jackson asked David.

"Yes," he said, as his new mother sniffled behind him.

"Do you miss your brother?"

"Yes," he offered.

One by one, the former Paddock children climbed out of the witness stand Wednesday afternoon to show jurors how they said they were made to sit for hours in the Paddocks' kitchen.

They squatted, crossing their legs and, without a word, stared straight at the witness stand.

mandy.locke@newsobserver.com or (919) 829-8927

2008 May 29