FT. LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – The first day of testimony got underway Tuesday in the trial of a South Florida woman charged in connection with a deadly hostage standoff in Deerfield Beach.
Deanna Beauchamp DeJesus, 37, is charged with aggravated manslaughter and child neglect.
Prosecutors say DeJesus is criminally responsible for doing nothing to stop her husband in February 2012 when he shot and killed a stranger, stabbed their 9-year-old son to death and tried to kill their 7-year-old son before he stabbed her and then, fatally, himself.
“Given the opportunity to help them, she said nothing, she did nothing,” prosecutor Greg Rossman said in his opening statement.
According to investigators, the DeJesus family drove from their home in Port Orange to the Highland Woods RV Park in Deerfield Beach. The family went to an RV that belonged to Ovila Plante, 76, and his girlfriend, Pierrete Beauchemin.
According to the Broward Sheriff’s Office, William DeJesus, 41, who was an Oxycodone addict and had cocaine in his system, shot Plante to death in front of his RV and then took Beauchemin hostage. After she realized DeJesus was going to kill his family and then kill her, Beauchemin managed to escape after a two hour hostage standoff.
According to BSO, DeJesus stabbed his autistic son Jeshiah, 9, and his other son Samson, 7, multiple times in the attack that lasted several minutes. Jeshiah died of his injuries while Samson and Deanna were both critically injured. William was found dead in his RV by a police SWAT team.
The Broward County Medical Examiner said that the boys, Jeshiah and William both had cocaine in their systems when they died.
Deanna told a witness that she knew her husband sometimes crushed drugs and gave it to their sons, according to the BSO. Investigators believe DeJesus drove to South Florida to obtain drugs.
Deanna’s lawyer said there was a good reason she didn’t act.
“Because one knife punctured her lung. It filled with fluid and she could not get up,” defense attorney Terry Moon said.
In a custody hearing for the surviving child in late February, De Jesus portrayed herself as a victim of her husband’s rampage and she even has visible scars on her right cheek and neck.
Court records show De Jesus had accused her husband of domestic violence on at least two occasions in 2007 and 2008. In the earlier case, William De Jesus threatened to kill his family.
Facing a possible substantial prison term, Deanna De Jesus stared intently at witnesses who described the carnage that day. At times she dissolved into tears.
“I heard a shot,” said Pierrette Beauchemin speaking through a translator as she described the night William De Jesus unexpectedly showed up at their RV demanding a cell phone.
Beauchemin said DeJesus was at times aggressive.
“She held a knife to my neck,” Beauchemin said.
Beauchemin told the jury DeJesus told her kids they would be okay in the face of an out of control father.
“She said, ‘Don’t cry, don’t cry, we will not hurt you,” Beauchemin said.
Michelle River said Deanna had a calm demeanor when she visited her in the hospital after the ordeal, specifically when describing her autistic son’s stabbing.
“Deanna said, ‘It’s okay, he didn’t suffer. He did it really fast,’” Rivera said.
A Broward judge entered a not-guilty plea on behalf of Deanna De Jesus on Monday.
She is being held in lieu of $350,000 bail.
The trail will resume Thursday morning.