Trial Begins For Tulsa Teen Charged With Beating Mother To Death With Shotgun

Wednesday, April 15th 2015, 7:20 pm

The first day of testimony has wrapped up in the trial of a son accused of beating his mother to death in their Tulsa home two years ago.

Henry “Hank” Laird was 17 years old when the murder took place.

Witnesses on Wednesday testified about the Lairds' violent relationship. The state called it a story of a broken woman. The prosecutor said Linda Laird was broken because of continued assault and battery by her son.

Numerous friends and family testified Linda was terrified her son was going to kill her.

Hank Laird is accused of using both ends of a shotgun beat his 56-year-old mother to death early in the morning January 22, 2013.

1/23/2013 Related Story: Police Arrest Teen Son, His Friend For Murder Of South Tulsa Woman

The defense wasted no time in opening statements, telling the jury it wasn't going to like Hank, but said that doesn't make him guilty.

Frail and using a walker, Linda's 88-year-old father, was first to take the stand Wednesday morning.

He cried and said “that's my little girl" when the state showed him a picture of Linda, taken before the murder.

He told the jury he and his wife found their daughter's body at the bottom of a staircase in her south Tulsa home.

He said his grandson Hank Laird let them in the house that morning.

Linda's mother wasn't able to testify on the stand, but her statement was read to the jury. She said she called her daughter several times that morning and when she never got an answer she and her husband decided to go make sure nothing was wrong.

She said when she saw her daughter's body lying on the floor she ran over and started praying she was OK, but said Linda felt cold.

Linda's father testified when he felt how cold his daughter was he knew she was dead and told his wife to call 911.

The state played the 911 call for the jury.

“Oh my land, there's blood on the pillow,” her mother said. Then Linda's father was heard saying, “There's blood all over. She's stiff. She's dead."

The defense pointed out no blood was ever found on Laird or his clothing.

The state said Linda's son, walked out of the house once his grandparents showed up.

He was seen at a coffee shop a few hours after his mother's body was found and police officers arrested him the next day, January 23, 2013 at a Tulsa home.

Many remember him by the pink hair he had at the time.

The pink hair is now back to its natural color, red.

The state's star witness, Josiah Sklar, took the stand in the afternoon. Sklar basically lived with the Lairds and was there the night of the murder.

He said Hank chugged almost an entire bottle whiskey, a fifth of a liter, he couldn't remember.

Sklar said he was in Hank's room when he heard arguing and Linda calling out to him for help. When he opened the door, he said saw Hank beating Linda in the head with a shotgun.

He said he heard Hank say, "My name is David Laird, I'm gonna avenge my death."

Hank Laird's middle name is David, but his father, who died several years ago, also was named David. Sklar said Hank blamed Linda for his father's death.

5/20/2014 Related Story: Judge Calls Murder Defendant A 'Danger To The Courtroom'

Sklar said he saw Hank hit Linda about 20 times and yelled for him to stop, but he wouldn't.

Eventually, Sklar said he was able to pull Hank away from Linda and claims she told Sklar not to call police, so he didn't. He said Hank eventually passed out, and Sklar said he brought Linda water and put a pillow under her head, sat with her for a few hours, then he went to bed.

When Linda's elderly parents came to the house Sklar said he grabbed his backpack and left, then Laird followed.

Throughout the testimony Wednesday, Laird sat stone-cold. He often times looked down at the table, but sometimes would scan the room, he even yawned a few times.

The only time he showed any emotion was as his grandfather walked out. He couldn't take his eyes off his grandfather and he smiled sweetly until he was gone.

The trial will continue Thursday morning.


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