Megan Martzen murder trial testimony called into question

February 7, 2013 12:48:51 AM PST
The Reedley woman on trial for killing a toddler -- is now being accused of lying on the witness stand. Megan Martzen's illness delayed the trial for two days -- and Wednesday -- another illness may have tripped her up.

Martzen took the stand for the second time and experienced attorneys say she did well. But Wednesday afternoon, three people said she was lying in her testimony last week.

Megan Martzen mixed smiles with sadness as she arrived to court and took the witness stand. Cameras aren't allowed in the trial, but Martzen testified that while she originally told investigators Ella Van Leeuwen seemed fine the day of her deadly injuries, she now knows better. She said the 17-month-old was fussy and cranky and refused to take a nap -- symptoms Martzen now says tell her something was desperately wrong. She admitted she never told a detective about Ella's symptoms, but her attorney said Martzen held up well while testifying.

"You know, I thought she did very well on the stand, but you know, it's really for the jury to decide and they get to make the call, but I thought she did great," said Jeff Hammerschmidt.

Two experienced attorneys who watched Wednesday's testimony told Action News Martzen came across as likable and sympathetic. But after she finished, the prosecutor called three witnesses who called into question what she said. All three are friends of the Van Leeuwen family. All three came to the hospital to see Ella on the day of her deadly injuries. And all three said they saw Martzen vomiting outside the hospital. Last week, Martzen testified that she did not throw up while doctors worked on Ella.

One of the witnesses -- Jody Laemmlen -- said, "I was here when she was testifying and she wasn't telling the truth. It blew our minds that she wasn't telling the truth."

Both attorneys tell Action News they plan to do closing arguments on Friday, then let the jury decide. Martzen faces life in prison if she's convicted.


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