BUCKHANNON, W.Va. -- Mary Bailey told a jury that as an 11-year-old she shot her stepfather in the abdomen with a rifle at the command of her mother.
The girl, testifying Wednesday in the first-degree murder trial of her mother, Priscilla Wyers, 29, said the only reason she shot Wayne Wyers in February 1987 was because her mother told her to do so.
'She didn't want to go to jail,' Bailey said. 'She didn't think I would either.'
The girl, who now lives with another family under the supervision of the state Department of Human Services, said the shooting followed a weekend of violence in the Wyers family's Adrian home. The stepfather was upset because a man Priscilla Wyers was secretly dating wrecked the family's Jeep, Bailey said.
'He told her to leave, to pack her clothes and leave,' she said.
According to the testimony, Priscilla Wyers was hit and slapped several times by her husband, and at one point he held a knife to her throat.
'She asked me would I shoot him, I told her yes. I told her right off the bat,' Bailey said.
The girl testified that her mother got her out of bed in the early morning hours of Feb. 24, and steered her to the living room, where Wayne Wyers had fallen asleep in a chair. Bailey said she found the .22-caliber rifle propped up against the couch.
On the third try, the girl succeeded in shooting her stepfather, she said.
'I laid the gun down ... Then I went back to bed,' Bailey said.
Prosecutors contend the husband was not threatening Wyers at the time he was shot because he was asleep.
'The victim ... was in no position to hurt anybody,' said prosecutor Alex Ross.
But defense lawyer Roy Lay contended that jurors will see from the evidence that Wayne Wyers was 'a terrorist in his own home.'