Triple-murder suspect takes stand in own defense <BR>

When murder suspect Frank Anderson took the stand Friday in his own defense in Mohave County Superior Court, he presented a different version of the Golden Valley murder he is accused of five years ago.

Anderson, 52, along with Bobby Poyson and Kimberly Lane, is accused of murdering Leta Kagen, her 15-year-old son, Robert Delahunt, and Roland Wear at the Kagen's Golden Valley residence Aug.

12, 1996.

Lane, who was brought back from state prison, also took the stand, in Superior Court Judge James Chavez's courtroom, for the prosecution, painting a different picture of that night.

Lane is in prison for her role in the murders and Poyson is on death row.

Anderson, whose 1998 conviction was overturned, faces the same charges: three counts of first-degree murder, one count of armed robbery and one count of conspiracy of murder.

Step by step, Anderson's attorney, Thomas Kehm had his client relate how he met Lane, who was allegedly abused by her father in Lancaster, Calif., then traveled with her first to Bakersfield and Las Vegas and finally to Golden Valley.

Anderson told how he and Lane ended up at Kagen's property where they had stayed for several days in a small travel trailer near Kagen's mobile home.

On Aug.

12, Anderson and Poyson, who was also staying with the Kagens, had gone into the mobile home momentarily leaving Lane with Delahunt in the trailer.

When Anderson returned, he said he heard Lane cry for help.

"I thought Kimberly was being attacked," Anderson said.

He said he pulled Delahunt off Lane and in the struggle Delahunt bit his hand.

Anderson, using a knife, then cut the teen-ager's throat.

He said he stood there in a daze while Poyson entered the trailer and grappled with Delahunt, smashing his head against the floor.

Poyson also yelled at him to hand him a rock or brick.

"I was just standing there in shock and disbelief," Anderson said.

Anderson's said Lane handed Poyson cinder blocks to kill the teen-ager.

Anderson said he and Poyson then went back to the mobile home and washed the blood off them and changed clothes.

He said the three sat on the couch in the main home with Kagen and Wear, who were unaware the boy had just been murdered.

After several hours, as Kagen and Wear retired for the night, Anderson said then Poyson demanded he join him in a small room called the "book room."

Searching for a book, Poyson grabbed a rifle, then shot both Kagen and Wear.

While fighting with Wear, Poyson smashed the older man with the rifle.

"He (Poyson) pointed the gun at me and told me, "I could shoot you too," Anderson said.

Anderson was vague about striking Wear on the head with a lantern.

During the fight with Poyson, Anderson said Wear might have struck his head against the lantern.

The three codefendants then allegedly stole Wear's truck and after dropping Lane and Poyson off near Chicago, Anderson was stopped and arrested driving the truck in southern Illinois.

Poyson had made threats to Lane and Anderson many times on the trip east, Anderson testified.

Chief Deputy County Attorney Jace Zack, taking his time with long pauses between questions, began to poke holes in Anderson's testimony.

"Kimberly Lane wanted to go back home while in Las Vegas," Zack said.

"No.

She did not," Anderson countered.

"You told her you knew a godfather in Chicago," Zack said.

"That you had Mafia connections there."

"No.

I did not."

Zack also attempted to show that Anderson was controlling Lane and not being protective as Anderson insisted.

He also referred to inconsistent statements the defendant made to law enforcement officers after being arrested.

"You told (former Mohave County Sheriff's Office) Detective (Eric) Cooper that you handed the bricks to Poyson," Zack said.

"Yes." Anderson admitted.

"In talking with all the different officers, I may have had."

"You told Cooper that you broke the lantern over Wear's head," Zack said.

"At the time, I was confused and it was all a mistake," Anderson said.

"You told officers that you saw Poyson cut the phone lines," Zack said.

"No, I did not," Anderson said.

Zack asked Anderson why he did not try to escape and call police after the murders.

"You stayed with Lane to protect her from Poyson throughout the trip," Zack said.

"Yes," Anderson replied.

'Then you left Lane with Poyson in Illinois?"

"Yes."

Lane, taking the stand late Friday, testified that she was more in fear of Anderson than Poyson.

"I felt I had more of a chance with Poyson," she said.

"I feel he (Anderson) is manipulative.

I feel he can make people do what he wants them to do.

I do believe what he gets, he deserves."

Lane also testified that it was Anderson's idea for Lane to kiss Delahunt while the teen-agers were alone in the trailer.

Co-counsel for the defense, Doug Sutherland, tried to portray Lane as the one involved in the planning of the murders with Poyson but she countered that saying it was actually Anderson and Poyson who discussed killing Kagan and Wear.

Both sides rested their cases and closing arguments are expected Tuesday when the trial resumes.

In his first trial, a Mohave County jury found Anderson guilty in January 1998 for three counts of first-degree murder, one count of armed robbery and one count of conspiracy of murder.

The Arizona Supreme Court struck down Anderson's death sentence.

The court ruled 4-1 to overturn the sentence because of an error in qualifying jurors during his 1998 trial.

Lane, 19, was also convicted in her first murder trial but the Arizona Court of Appeals overturned her conviction and the state Supreme Court upheld that decision.

Prior to her second trial, she pleaded guilty to lesser charges and received a reduced sentence.

Poyson, 25, was also convicted and sentenced to death in November 1999.

The U.S.

Supreme Court upheld his conviction and he remains on death row.