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McVay Testifies On Schein's Birthday

April 11, 2014, 4:52 PM by Brady Mallory

McVay Testifies On Schein's Birthday
James McVay


Maybelle Schein would've turned 78 on Friday, April 11. Instead, family and friends are gathered in court for her killer's death penalty hearing. Admitted killer James McVay took the stand to talk about the events leading up to when he murdered Schein her home three years ago.

McVay apologized to Maybelle Schein's friends and family today, and said he felt guilty for murdering the then 75-year-old woman. McVay accused Minnehaha State's Attorney Aaron McGowan of trying to portray him as a, "lying, want-to-kill dude." McVay said, "That's just not true, Mr. McGowan."

While on the stand, McVay said, while watching Schein sleep, he hesitated about whether he would kill her. After he started, he says he thought about calling 9-11. He outlined how Schein fought for her life, while he stabbed her at least nine times.  His attorneys have been trying to convince jurors the man feels guilty for his crime.

Defense attorneys focused heavily on McVay's troubled childhood, and early addictions to several drugs as reasons that may have led to the murder. They are pushing for a life sentence.

McGowan said McVay is a threat to others behind bars, because McVay previously threatened to kill other inmates who were child rapists or gang members. McVay said he does not feel that way now. He also said he wants to help other inmates.

McGowan also focused on what McVay told investigators and the media, after his arrest, about wanting to kill again. McVay said he made up statements to provoke authorities, so he would get the death penalty. He has since changed his mind about wanting to die.

McVay addressed McGowan and said, "If you think for one second you and your work put me in this situation, you're wrong. I gave you this case. It was a gift to you."

McVay's adopted brother, Roy Lieb, also testified. Lieb told jurors that McVay should have been locked up for life years ago, based on his criminal history and struggles with addiction. He said McVay cannot seem to live life outside of prison. 

A priest testified on behalf of McVay, which led to discussion between defense attorneys and the judge. Father Gary Ternes with the Catholic Diocese has met with McVay, and also knew Schein. Defense attorneys said he talked with Schein's family member, who he claims told him Schein was opposed to the death penalty. Though the defense wanted to bring this up during testimony, the judge said it was irrelevant, and did not allow it.

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