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Published: Thursday, 10/12/2006

Daughter tells court she saw dad stab mother

BY MARK REITER
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Danny Anaya leaves the courtroom at the Lucas County Courthouse, where his murder trial began yesterday. Danny Anaya leaves the courtroom at the Lucas County Courthouse, where his murder trial began yesterday.
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After hearing her mother yelling, Devin Anaya watched from the stairs of their upscale Sylvania home as her mother, lying on the kitchen floor, tried defending herself from her knife-wielding husband.

"I saw my dad stabbing my mom," Devin, 16, testified yesterday on the opening day of her father's aggravated murder trial in Lucas County Common Pleas Court.

Danny Anaya, 55, is accused of killing his wife, Rhonda, during a domestic dispute Oct. 25 at the couple's home at 8034 Littlefield Ct.

Devin, one of the couple's five children, told assistant prosecutor Timothy Braun she saw Mr. Anaya stab his 43-year-old wife three times in the chest.

"But she was trying to put her hands up. She was trying to defend herself, but it wasn't working," the teenager told jurors.

If convicted, Mr. Anaya, who was an engineer for General Motors in Michigan, could be sentenced to life in prison with parole eligibility after 30 years.

The trial, which is being held in the courtroom of Judge Frederick McDonald, is expected to be completed tomorrow.

Devin said she witnessed the stabbing after going downstairs earlier and saw her father standing over her mother in the family room, where she had been sleeping on a couch.

She said she saw blood on her father, and he was standing over the victim. She also said her father was wearing rubber gloves and had a large kitchen knife tucked behind his back.

At her father's insistence, she returned to her upstairs bedroom. But she became concerned and went to the stair-way after she heard her mother yelling. The disturbance had moved from the family room to the kitchen.

"I started screaming. I told my dad to leave my mom alone. 'Stop hurting her,' " she said.

At the time, her sister, Danyelle, 17, and brother, Drake, 15, were in second-floor bedrooms. An older sister was not home.

Devin said she ran back to her room and called 911 on a cell phone. The terrified teenager's call to the 911 operator was played to the jurors.

Mrs. Anaya, who was a physician's assistant at a hospital in Wyandotte, Mich., had filed for divorce in July, 2005.

Also testifying yesterday was Dr. Cynthia Beisser, a Lucas County deputy coroner. She said Mrs. Anaya died from multiple stab wounds in the neck and chest.

Dr. Beisser said cuts that Mrs. Anaya received on her fingers and thumbs were consistent with those of a person trying defend herself.

Sylvania police Officer Kevin Crowell was among the first officers to arrive at the Anaya residence after dispatchers received Devin's 911 call.

He testified the defendant's face, mustache, and teeth were stained with blood when he opened the door for officers. He said the first words out of Mr. Anaya's mouth were: "She attacked me."

Officer Crowell also said that Mr. Anaya's hands were covered with blood.

Judge McDonald asked jurors to return at 9 a.m. today to resume hearing testimony.

Contact Mark Reiter at:

markreiter@theblade.com

or 419-213-2134.



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