SMITHFIELD, N.C. -- Lynn Paddock, who was charged with wrapping her adopted son so tightly in blankets that he suffocated to death, was found guilty of first-degree murder by a jury on Thursday.
Prosecutors had argued that Paddock tortured 4-year-old Sean when he died two years ago. It took jurors 2.5 hours to come to their decision regarding the mother who had sat and watched her six children come to the stand and testify against her over the past month.
The children said Paddock beat them almost daily with pieces of plumbing pipe. “She kicked me pretty much as hard as she could,” testified daughter Tami Paddock. “At least it felt like [it was as hard as she could], of course I was only 10.”
When she took the stand herself, the accused mother admitted to hitting the children too hard, leaving bruises all over their bodies. “I’m sorry,” she testified. “I’ve very ashamed.”
That wasn’t the end of the abuse. “The poop that I … threw up on the floor, Lynn made me eat it and I almost threw up,” testified Hannah Paddock of the conditions in the home.
“I was afraid [to go to sleep] because like every night I got wrapped up real tight by a blanket and it was hard,” added Kayla Paddock.
During the pre-trial hearings, Paddock’s former husband, Johnny, sat in the courtroom ready to testify against her if called. He never went up on the stand, and maintains that he did not know about the abuse. Presiding superior court Judge Knox Jenkins disagreed, saying it was nonsense for Johnny Paddock to claim he didn’t know about the torture going on in his home.
Prosecutors said there just wasn’t enough evidence to charge him in the case. “We can only make a decision based upon the evidence, not upon speculation, no matter how reasonable that speculation is,” said Paul Jackson, assistant district attorney.
Paddock’s defense attorneys would not comment after the verdict, which will send her to prison for life.