SONORA, Calif. — Ellie Nesler was overwhelmed by delusions that she was acting on behalf of God, the police and mothers everywhere when she fatally shot her son's accused molester, her lawyer said Tuesday.
"She thought society endorsed what she did," defense lawyer Tony Serra told jurors as the sanity phase of Nesler's trial opened. "She thought she was an emissary of the police or other mothers. She thought she was acting for God."
But prosecutors countered that Nesler, 41, killed Daniel Mark Driver because she was rash and impulsive, not a victim of a mental illness that made her incapable of telling right from wrong.
The same jury that acquitted Nesler of first- and second-degree murder but found her guilty of voluntary manslaughter reassembled to begin hearing testimony from up to seven psychiatrists and psychologists who examined her.
The jury must decide whether Nesler was sane and thus legally responsible for killing Driver, 35, as he sat shackled beside his lawyer in a makeshift Jamestown courtroom April 2.