Castor trial comes into our homes


Live telecasts bring 'black widow' murder trial into our living rooms.

Marriage can be murder.

Figuratively speaking, we know that to be true. The pressure of fidelity, finances, the daily demands of careers, house-keeping and child-rearing, well, it's a struggle.

While brides and grooms vow to remain true to each other "for better or for worse" and "until death do you part," it's all easier said than done. And for some that ultimate parting can't come soon enough.

That's when marriage can be murder literally.

And that's the essence of the case against Stacey Castor.

Digital TV testimony

In the old days if you wanted to actually see and hear testimony in a local murder trial, you had to drag yourself down to the county courthouse on Columbus Circle.

Back in 1983, for instance, I took the bus downtown with my dad to catch an energetic young assistant district attorney named Bill Fitzpatrick in a battle royale against legendary defense lawyer Paul Shanahan who ably represented accused passion-killer Cynthia Pugh.

Shanahan's booming voice and meticulous creation of reasonable doubt won a mistrial for his client before Fitz bounced back strongly to secure a conviction at the second trial.

Now, thanks to digital television technology, we can see and hear the witnesses, the attorneys, the accused and the judge right there on our living room TV sets.

For the past three weeks WSYR-TV channel 9.2HD has been telecasting the murder trial of Stacey Castor, and News 10 Now carried Castor's testimony and the lawyers' closing arguments. The 41-year-old town of Clay woman is accused of fatally dosing her second husband, 48-year-old David Castor, with antifreeze in August 2005.

Antifreeze cocktails

The indictment also charges Stacey with trying to kill her daughter, Ashley, in a 2007 attempt to frame the kid for the murders of her step-father and her own father, Michael Wallace, 38, who died in Weedsport in 2000 when Ashley was just 12 years old. His body was exhumed in September 2007 and examination of the corpse indicated that he also died from an OD of ethylene glycol, the toxic ingredient in antifreeze.

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