Raleigh County Prosecuting Attorney Kristen Keller spent Friday morning cross-examining Jeremy Lambert, who is on trial for the murder of Cyan Maroney.
Keller resumed her questioning on day four of the trial by asking Lambert where he threw the bloody knife he used to stab Maroney 23 times: “I don’t know, ma’am,” the defendant responded.
During an interview with forensic psychiatrist Dr. Bobby Miller about a month after the Oct. 2, 2011, murder, Lambert told Miller he had thrown the knife out of his window somewhere in the Thurmond area of Fayette County.
“But you forgot to throw out the box, didn’t you?” Keller asked, referencing the knife box that police later found in his green 1992 Geo Tracker.
Keller continued with a series of questions about Lambert’s interview with Miller and the testimony he gave before the jury Thursday; his answers to many of the questions contradicted previous statements.
“Are you the human being that stuck the Bowie knife into Cyan’s body 23 times?” Keller asked.
Lambert said, “Yes, ma’am.”
“The Bowie knife was a secret from her, wasn’t it?” Keller asked. “And the purpose of the knife was a secret also, wasn’t it?”
Lambert stuttered and stammered during many of his responses to Keller’s questions, and answered many with, “I don’t know.”
He said during testimony Thursday he believed an ex-boyfriend may have been at Maroney’s house, so he wanted to arm himself for protection.
“You bought that weapon to inflict maximum terror,” Keller said. “You stabbed her, you stabbed her, you stabbed her,” she said as she counted on her fingers and repeated the words 23 times.
Maroney family members sitting in the courtroom began crying.
“You had a phone with you, right?” Keller asked. “When did you call 911?”
“I never made that phone call,” Lambert said.
During his interview with Miller, Lambert said of Maroney, “She was a doll.” Keller asked him to elaborate on what he meant.
“She was a very sweet person. She always had a positive attitude,” Lambert said.
Keller asked him if he would agree that she was trusting, petite, very talented, caring, loving and extremely hard-working; Lambert agreed with all of those descriptions.
Lambert’s previous relationships were discussed, including his ex-wife calling his military superiors about his excessive drinking. He also admitted to having homicidal thoughts about an ex-girlfriend’s mother after an argument in which she told him he needed to get a job.
Keller asked him more details about his deployment to Kuwait and he agreed that he never saw anyone get shot; he never shot anyone; he never saw any comrades killed or lose any limbs; and he never suffered any combat-related injuries.
She reviewed his employment history and asked if he had told any of his employers about his hallucinations, drinking problems or any issues related to his post-traumatic stress disorder; he said no.
Keller asked Lambert why he chose to buy the 14-inch Bowie knife at Walmart the night of Maroney’s murder instead of returning to his mother’s house where she kept several guns.
He said he didn’t want to use one of his mother’s guns because they were registered in her name.
Lambert admitted to buying more beer at a gas station after the murder, and Keller said, “Instead of saying, ‘Please help me, I’ve murdered someone,’ you bought some beer.”
“I didn’t have the intention to go over there and kill anyone, even the man I thought may have been there,” Lambert said.
Lambert, in his testimony Thursday, said he called his mother and told her he thought he had killed Maroney.
“You’ve demonstrated a complete lack of concern for Cyan Maroney and her well-being… You didn’t ask (about her when he was being transported to the Fayette County Police Department) because you didn’t care,” Keller said.
During the afternoon session, the defense called Lambert’s mother, Jill Lambert, as a witness.
Jill Lambert said her son had no psychiatric problems growing up and was never on any type of medication.
She said during phone calls with her son while he was in Kuwait, he expressed fear to her about the possibility of an attack.
When he returned home six months later, she said he was changed — a once “happy-go-lucky” guy came back as a “dark, dark” individual, according to his mother.
She said he didn’t like to be touched and he spent most of his time in bed with a blanket covering the window.
Keller asked Jill Lambert if she saw Maroney very often; she said yes, and described her as a “very nice” girl.
As part of a joint custody agreement, Lambert’s 4-year-old son, Adam, spent three or four nights a week at Jill Lambert’s house, and Jill Lambert said Maroney would sometimes visit while he was there. On nights when Adam was with his mother, Jill Lambert said her son would stay at Maroney’s house on Myers Avenue in Beckley.
Jill Lambert described headaches her son experienced and how he would beg her to help him. She said he would say, “Mom, please make it stop ... I can’t stand what keeps going on in my head.”
She said Lambert didn’t want to eat meals with the family and would go for days on end without showering.
He visited the Beckley VA Hospital six days before Maroney’s murder, Jill Lambert said, and the doctors prescribed lithium.
After he began taking that medication, the mother said she saw a “big change” in his attitude.
Keller reviewed the events of Oct. 2, 2011, and asked Jill Lambert to describe the phone call she received from her son.
“He said, ‘I’m sorry, Mom,’ and I said, ‘What are you talking about?’”
She said he replied, “I stabbed her.”
“What in the world are you talking about?” Jill Lambert said she asked him, as she cried on the witness stand Friday.
She said he lost cellphone service and when he called her back, she asked, “Did you kill Cyan?”
She said he then acted like he didn’t know what she was talking about, but she told him she had talked to the police and they would be calling him soon; she urged him to answer when they called.
“He said he just wanted to come home, but I said, ‘You won’t be coming home.’”
Jill Lambert started crying heavily, but defense attorney Thomas Dyer only asked her one question.
“Do you love Jeremy?”
“With all my heart.”
The defense called its third witness, Terri Smith, current principal of Mullens Middle School, and a longtime friend of the Lambert family.
Smith said she grew up with Jill, and the two have been lifelong friends.
She said she saw Jeremy Lambert as he grew up, and was even his teacher at one point.
She described him as “clean-cut” and “athletic” during his youth, but she said the “fun-loving, friendly” boy she knew changed after his military service.
“The young man that did this is not the young man I knew growing up.”
Keller asked her if she agreed that good kids can go bad; Smith said, “I’ve seen good kids make mistakes, yes.”
The defense will continue its case at 9:30 a.m. Monday.
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