Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Richard and Nancy Lyon

The Tami Lyn Show

The prosecution subpoenaed Lyon's girlfriend, Tami Lyn Gaisford, whose parrying with prosecutor Jerri Sims was a spectacle.

Gaisford replied with indignation to many of Sims' prying questions: Where was Richard's wife on nights when they were intimate? How much did he spend on the leather coat he bought her?

Gaisford admitted that Richard Lyon told her he was taking his wife to New York at Christmas 1990, a couple of weeks before she died, because she was being treated for a rare blood disease at a clinic there. She acknowledged to Sims that she later learned this was a lie.

Richard Lyon in court
Richard Lyon in court

But she stammered: "It's the only time he ever lied to me... He said he didn't want to hurt my feelings."

Defense attorney Guthrie was gentler with his client's gal pal, drawing her out about Richard sensitive nature. She also managed to castigate the dead woman, saying that her frigidity drove Richard into the arms of another woman.

In a stand-by-her-man moment, Gaisford admitted she was in frequent contact with the accused murderer.

"I believe he is innocent, so I continue to support him," she said. "I continue to see him."

Gaisford said they met in the summer of 1989 and became intimate a month later. In December 1989, they both applied for business school at Harvard and began discussing marriage "in general terms."

"I wouldn't say I was happy about the situation," she testified. "He knew I didn't enjoy being the other woman."

She said she was unaware until after Nancy's death that Lyon had moved back in with his wife and had withdrawn his divorce petition — even though telephone records revealed that Lyon and Gaisford were in daily contact until the day before Nancy was hospitalized.

Two days after Gaisford's testimony, Richard Lyon mounted the witness stand in a risky defense gamble.

He testified about the incest ("The idea disgusted me") and the couple's battles against the fire ants. He told jurors that Gaisford was a "friend and confidant," and he explained that he bought her a $4,500 watch "as a friend."

Courtroom wags judged that prosecutor Sims let him off easy. If the trial boiled down to Sims vs. Lyon, Lyon won. But it wasn't that simple.


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