Jury hears 2009 testimony from Delores Laster's son

Trial adjourns for day without son's taped testimony


ORLANDO, Fla. – The murder trial of former Orange County school teacher Delores Laster, who's accused of killing her husband in 1988, has adjourned for the day on Monday without the long-awaited taped testimony from Laster's son.

Laster was arrested in 2009 after her children came forward and said they helped her cover up their father's death.

The state will play the video of Clyde Laster's October testimony in Tuesday morning.

Prosecutors read aloud the transcript on Monday of Clyde Laster's testimony to the grand jury in 2009, with prosecutor Pam Davis reading the prosecutor's lines and prosecutor Ryan Vescio reading Clyde Laster's testimony.

In the testimony, Clyde said "My dad was lying on the floor. I remember blood on the corner of the nightstand." Clyde also describes dragging him to garage thinking he was going to the hospital. He said his mother told him they didn't have money for an ambulance.

Laster's lawyers asked to see the grand jury testimony from 2009, so in a highly unusual instance, the judge unsealed the testimony.

FDLE crime lab technician David Baer also testified on Monday that he detected human blood in several spots on a nightstand. He says it was the same blood type as Clarence Laster but could not conclude it was his.

FDLE special agent supervisor Tony Rodriguez testified that he, along with OCSO Cpl. Duwana Pelton, reopened the cold case. He admitted that until interviewing kids, there was no conclusive evidence that pointed to who the perpetrator was.

During cross-examination, the defense tried to imply that Laster's daughter Kristi Dandridge was "threatened" with jail if she didn't cooperate. Rodriguez admitted to the jury that those statements were made to her.

But on re-direct, he said that Dandridge expressed concern about testifying against her mom at trial and refused to talk to them without a subpoena.

Rodriguez says Laster's son, Clyde Laster, was cooperative and said things that shed new light on the case.

Pelton was on the stand Monday afternoon and admitted they used "deception", such as talking about non-existent DNA evidence, in hopes of getting answers from Dandridge.

Pelton told jurors Dandridge was "scared" and "didn't want to hurt her mother".

Jurors will hear from Laster's son, Clyde, on Monday in a taped testimony. Clyde Laster is in the military and can't be in the courtroom in person. His testimony from October 2011 enabled detectives to arrest the school teacher 20 years after the death of Clarence Laster.

Clyde Laster told investigators when he was 10-years-old, in 1988, he recalls helping his mom drag the body of his father, Clarence, from the bedroom to the garage. He also testified that he remembers talking to his father and that his father told him he would be OK.

Laster's son's story contradicts Delores Laster's alibi to detectives. Laster told detectives she claimed that her husband had left the house that morning before the children woke up and that she never saw him again until discovering his body in the garage the following night.

Clyde Laster also said on the stand that he may have been mistaken about what he remembers from that night and he doesn't know for sure whether he really did  help his mother cover up the crime.

The defense claims the children have "false memories" of that night, which they say may have been planted there by detectives.

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