EDGAR COUNTY, IL. (WTHI) – Testimony continues in the sentencing hearing of Selena Hall. The Edgar County mother pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter for her role in the death of her two-year-old son, Landon Weaver.
On Wednesday afternoon, the defense called several witnesses to the stand. Among them Dr. Lawrence Jeckel. He specializes in psychiatry and forensic psychiatry.
“This is a case of violence driven by the personalities involved.” Jeckel told the packed courtroom, he was asked by the defense to interview Hall on two separate occasions in December 2015.
Jeckel testified, in their sessions, Hall detailed a history of abuse at the hands of her then boyfriend, Zach Watson. He would often make threats of “mass murder” after injecting methamphetamine.
Jeckel told the court it’s plausible that Hall suffers from battered woman syndrome. “Which is a feeling of helplessness.” He stated the symptoms could explain her inability to protect Landon from abuse. Jeckel also said Hall admitted to initially lying to investigators. She didn’t tell them the truth about Landon’s death, because Watson threatened to kill her.
The defense cross-examined Jeckel with a series of questions. Jeckel stated it is possible, Hall exaggerated during their sessions. The state’s attorney asked, “How do you know Ms. Hall didn’t participate in any of the violence against the child?” Dr. Jeckel replied, “I don’t.”
Landon died as a result of multiple blunt force trauma to the head in November 2014. Hall and Watson were later arrested in connection to his death. Both were originally charged with murder. Hall accepted a plea deal.
During a brief recess, family members, including the paternal grandparents of Landon spoke with 24-Hour News 8’s sister station WTHI.
Through tears they said, “It’s difficult to hear speculation. I don’t know if we will ever know the truth. One thing is certain, Landon is no longer with us.”
Testimony will resume on Thursday morning at 9:00 central. A medical examiner is expected to take the stand for the state. The judge may not issue a sentence until early next week.