Closing arguments are expected Thursday in the murder trial of Nicholas Godejohn. Defense lawyer Andrew Mead said in opening statements that yes, their client killed Missouri woman Dee Dee Blanchard in the early hours of June 10, 2015, but only at the request of the victim’s daughter Gypsy Blanchard. The client shouldn’t be convicted as charged with first-degree murder because he lacked the relevant mental function, the attorney said. Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Nathan Chapman said, however, that Gypsy first brought up the idea of killing her mother in May 2014, giving the defendant over a year to deliberate.
Testimony over three days established a motive and timeline in the incident. Prosecutors say Godejohn, using a knife given to him by Gypsy, straddled the victim’s back while she was sleeping on her stomach, and stabbed her 17 times.
Gypsy, who pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in 2016, took the stand on Thursday. She said that her mother forced her to feign illnesses, including cancer and muscular dystrophy, to cheat charities out of money. Dee Dee told her to stay in a wheelchair and remain quiet, she claimed. Blanchard claimed her mother smashed her computer and her cell phone, and tied her to her bed as punishment for a failed runaway attempt in 2011. She claimed that her mother told her she wouldn’t be allowed to date, or get married.
Dee Dee became more abusive as time went on, hitting and starving her, Gypsy said.
She met Godejohn in 2012 on a Christian dating site. He quickly learned that she didn’t really need a wheelchair, she said. According to her testimony, he introduced the concept of alter-egos and rape fantasies into the relationship, and while she didn’t enjoy it, she indulged him.
She admitted to being the person who brought up the idea of killing Dee Dee, and said she provided her then-boyfriend the blue latex gloves and the knife with which to kill her mother. Under cross-examination, however, prosecutors asked questions depicting Godejohn as influencing the plot. For example, he came up with the cover story in case they were caught, according to Gypsy.
Blanchard testified that they had three plans to get Godejohn to stay in her life. Murder was the last resort. “Plan C” involved getting Gypsy pregnant, but sex in a movie theater restroom didn’t result in conception. Under cross-examination, she said that two weeks before the killing, she brought up the possibility of pregnancy again but the defendant didn’t answer her.
The prosecution also got Blanchard to say that it was Godejohn’s idea to stab Dee Dee. The couple passed on other methods, including poison, arson, and a gun. For example, Gypsy said it was difficult to find odorless, tasteless poison. As for why she had her then-boyfriend do it, she said she was “sqeamish,” and hated the sight of blood.
Blanchard said she didn’t tell others about Dee Dee’s behavior because she worried about no one believing her, or her mother retaliating.
“I feared her more than I feared anyone else,” she said.
[Image of Gypsy Blanchard via Press Pool]