Karla Faye Tucker’s trial for the murder of Jerry Dean began on Wednesday, April 11th, 1984, with one of her companions that night – Albert Sheehan – telling the jury how the trio had spent the day drinking, taking drugs and smoking pot before they set out for Dean’s apartment.

He said that when they arrived Karla and her boyfriend Daniel Garrett went into the flat while he looked for Dean’s car. On going to the apartment shortly afterwards, he testified, he heard a gurgling noise coming from the bedroom. He discovered that the sound was coming from Dean when he entered the bedroom and saw Karla attacking him with a pickaxe.

“Karla was standing over a body on the floor,” he told the jury. “She had a pickaxe buried in a body covered with a sheet. She was pulling on the axe, wiggling it and jerking it. She finally got it out and held it over her head. She turned and looked at me, smiled – and did it again…

“Next night,” he continued, “as we watched a television newscast about the killings, Karla was ecstatic. She was very proud of what she had done. She thought what they had done was something spectacular…”