Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Richard and Nancy Lyon

Voyeur's Trial

The trial was a voyeur's dream.

On the first day of testimony, Bill Dillard Sr. acknowledged the sexual relationship between his two children, although he characterized it as "playing doctor." On the second day, defense attorney Guthrie twisted the knife during cross-examination. He asked Dillard to read aloud his daughter's jotted notations from Nancy's incest counseling, including the disputed notation about her "fear of Bill."

Another of Nancy's introspective notes introduced as evidence included this passage: "Bill violated me for several years and no one told me it was evil... Bill does not like me because I have achieved what he could not — a happy family, a solid career, respect from Big D (their father) and respect from others."

Later, testimony revealed that the vitamin capsules that Nancy found on her porch with the bottle of wine contained toxic barium carbonate, although she did not eat them. A police detective testified that Richard Lyon had ordered arsenic trioxide, although prosecutors were unable to prove that he had received shipment of the poison. A neighbor testified she signed for delivery of four packages for Lyon in August 1990. Some of them carried chemical warning labels.

Prosecutors presented a stack of phone records, cancelled checks and receipts that linked Richard Lyon to purchases of various chemicals, and witnesses testified about the foul wine, soda and cocktail, although authorities said no arsenic was found in anything tested from the Lyon household.


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