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June 28, 2010

Florida v Stacey Kananen: Woman accused of helping her brother kill their mother

Posted: 01:26 PM ET

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Orlando, FL - Richard Jr., Stacey, and Cheryl Kananen’s childhood memories are permeated with beatings, rapes, and psychological torment at the hands of their father – a violent alcoholic whose hulking build was dwarfed only by his own sadistic streak. Richard Kananen Sr.’s reign of terror came to a halt, however, in 1988. Though the details of how he got there are murky, the 55-year-old Kananen Sr. came to spend the next 15 years buried in the garage floor of the family home, with a single bullet lodged in his head.

Investigators made the discovery in 2003, after a painstaking 20-hour excavation in search of Kananen’s wife, who’d disappeared months earlier. Marilyn Kananen’s remains were instead found a few houses down the street from hers, under a rock garden in her daughter Stacey’s backyard.

The three Kananen siblings are now reunited in an Orlando courtroom, as Stacey Kananen takes her seat at the defense table, accused of her mother’s murder. Her sister Cheryl has been a driving force of the 7-year investigation, and Richard Jr. turned State’s witness after pleading guilty to the killings of both parents – implicating Stacey as having a hand in their deaths.

Florida prosecutors originally charged Stacey Kananen with both murders, but dropped the case against her in her father’s death because they felt the evidence remaining after nearly two decades was too weak to stand on its own. Among several motives for her mother’s murder was a quarter of a million dollars in inheritance money, according to the State. She will face life in prison if convicted.

Richard Jr. waited until the eve of his own trial to point the finger at his younger sister, saying they took their mother to a movie and an Italian dinner the night of her death, then used a Taser to incapacitate her, and smothered the 65-year-old woman. Her body was found partially mummified, with her mouth and nose covered by duct tape, and one Taser dart stuck in her Disney denim jacket.

Stacey Kananen, now 43, says she learned early in life that asking questions is a dangerous business – and that she never caught on to her brother’s elaborate plan to cover up a murder he, and he alone, committed. While the jurors will not learn the fate of Richard Sr., they will hear from all three of his children about the dark and troubled world of their childhood, as issues of abuse and domestic violence, and their devastating ripple effects, take center stage in courtroom 7A.

Watch the trial of Stacey Kananen on In Session all week.

- Lena Jakobsson, In Session Field Producer

Filed under: Trials


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Jane Smith   June 28th, 2010 10:02 pm ET

Parents that torture their children by beatings and words kill the soul.


warsteiner   June 29th, 2010 6:58 am ET

How do we know what they claim is true? All kids see their history through stained glasses.


Madigan   June 29th, 2010 12:30 pm ET

Warsteiner-have you ever experienced abuse at the hands of your parents? I work with both adults and children who have endured horrific forms of abuse. Believe me, they are not looking through "stained glasses".


feistycat   June 29th, 2010 1:10 pm ET

There has to be a way for Social Security to monitor their benefits better, this is not the first time someone has been murdered & their benefits continued to be used by the perpetrator(s)


carla   June 29th, 2010 1:21 pm ET

i find that the sister cheryl isa great witness– she was there and seems to know what all went on... she has a good memory. it must have been terrible to live in that sick household..


lois   June 29th, 2010 1:24 pm ET

I dont feel sorry for the parents we are protectors of our children not their tormentors.The Mother knew what was going on and allowed it so she is as guilty as the father.99% of the time Mothers always know.


Sandra   June 29th, 2010 4:39 pm ET

I love the interactions between the 2 attorneys!! In a trial that is filled with horrific images and memories a little comic relief is welcome.
These 2 attorneys both have "attitudes" I keep expecting one to slap the other silly. They clearly don't like each other. Ms. Tennis is a riot with all of her eye rolling and expressions. She better be glad the judge can't her her when she elicits these. I remember how sick I felt during the Calista trial and how much I admired that wonderful prosecutor!!


MARY WILKINS   June 29th, 2010 5:54 pm ET

I am not sure of the true guilt of Stacy in the murder of her mother, but I am not sure that I truly believe everything her sister testified to.... it seems to me that she was trying to distance herself from her siblings during her testemony.


Thelma   June 30th, 2010 9:38 am ET

DIVORCE is always an option, a real mother begin to protect her body and her child the minute it's cofirmed she's pregnant a real mother will not stand by and watch her children be a victim of abuse regardless of who it is, especially their own father.


richard   June 30th, 2010 11:13 am ET

A mother should always have there childrens and her saftey first at hand especially when the father is being abusive. But also we got to understand the fear the mother may have of her own life as well. Sometimes a mother thinks of whats going to happen if i fight back is it going to worsen. i think there should be more out reach places for mothers to go when this situation occurs.


rachel waitt   June 30th, 2010 11:44 am ET

I don't think the other sister is too sqeaky clean in all this too. She knew the mother was receiving the father's social security all these year's and she also knew something had happened to the father but never said anything. The whole family is messed up from what I see, probably from the father, but I don't see that just two people are guilty here.


Maureen   June 30th, 2010 12:47 pm ET

If ever there was a case of jury nullifation, this is it. The only "jury of their peers" should be those that have been on the receiving end of a belt buckle with bleeding bruises. Back when they were kids no one gave a rats behind what happened to those kids. It was treated as nothing more than listening out the door & having something to gossip about. And the sister??? Shame on her!!! If someone had turned in those parents, they maybe would have been locked up for the rest of their lives, but "mommy dearest" said she was sorry....big deal!! The system did not help those children, poetic justice did...they got exactly what they deserved. Isnt it sad that justice never came to those children, not as children, not as adults. Still protecting the preditors, not the victims.


Sheila   June 30th, 2010 12:53 pm ET

She may helped helped but I would not put much stock in what the brother has to say. He has serious mental issues! Everyone deals with past abuse in their own way. The sister stating that the mother was protective is very inaccurate. If she had been protective the children would not have been abused the way they were throughout thier childhood.


Barbra Losel   June 30th, 2010 12:56 pm ET

If a parent knows, or even truly suspects that their child(ren) is/are being abused, it is their duty as a parent to remove them from the abusive environment, even if it means leaving themselves. When one becomes a parent, their FIRST and foremost priority in life switches from themself to their child(ren). Parents should protect them at all cost, even if it means sacrificing their own needs or desires. By not doing so, they not only keep their child in danger of further abuse, but they are also indirectly telling their children that the abuser is more important than they are. It's a no-brainer...whatever it takes, it is a parent's obligation (if it's not their instinct) to protect their children.


Monique, Michigan   June 30th, 2010 1:19 pm ET

Any mother should feel its her job to protect her children from who ever may be harming them! me, my sister, mom, and brother was abused by my father. She sat back and let it happen. She couldve stopped it for the sake of her children. I now have a child of my own and i am so overprotective i will never let anyone harm my child ever! Our kids is the future and i want my son to have a chance i never had.......


Barbara   June 30th, 2010 1:23 pm ET

I believe that a mother who stands by when her children are being abused is complisite in the abuse. Amother's first duty is to protect her children...........even from their father.


Robert jewkes   June 30th, 2010 1:23 pm ET

It is easy to say, get help. or protect the kids at all cost, but what cost?
when i was a child in the late 80's and early 90's the foster parents often where not any better than the abusive parents, or they was even worse.

And what if the courts wrote it off and out you back in the home, and the abuse took retribution for time spent in court?

And i see no way, especialy if she knew her mother was dead and burried in her yard and if she helped burry mom, and at the least didn't tell on brother once she knew, she is as copiable as he is.

and if she didn't know mom was dead, why start selling her disney collectables?


Vivian   June 30th, 2010 1:24 pm ET

I believe that any mother that would sit by and watch their children be abused by their father is just as guilty. Even if afraid she should do whatever it takes to protect her children. There is to much help out in the world today not to go and get help. So there is NO EXCUSE for anybody whether it be mother or father to use to not seek help.


debra   June 30th, 2010 1:30 pm ET

if these women just can't give up the man, they should at least give up the children to protect them. children come first, always! when they stand by and let this happen they're just as guilty, no excuses.


buckie   June 30th, 2010 1:42 pm ET

Queston, What would you do when the law is statue of lemations runs out. Back in the day this stuff was never a converssion. I no i was a Victim. I thought alot about kiling my father with my brother and other siblings. Our lives are all screwed up because of him. When you become an adult you have a right to make choices. but, when abused in your child hood you never get over the hurt pain sexuall abuse and mental abuse and when you make a bad choice in my opion is that it goes back to your childhood. When you have taken so much you will break I dont care what anyone says. Myself and sister can't have children because of him. This year my sister could not hang in anymore. She took her life because she felt like she was nothing. Our Father took our child hood from us and our future. When you are faced with all of the thing's as a child back then and I mean back then there was no one to turn to. No one.If you did tell what the hell the teacher or whom ever you did tell talked to your parent's. When my father died it was one of the most happiest day's of my life and at that time I was an adult. My mother was the greatest she tried to protect us, but she was a victim as well. For people to say divorce him remember back then it was un herd of. 8 kids were alot backthen. God I wish that we had the places they have today and, maybe my sister would be alive.


Susan   June 30th, 2010 1:48 pm ET

ANY GOOD mother would give her life to get her children out of harms way from a drunken,abusive husband. If not, she has failed them greatly.


matt boyd   June 30th, 2010 2:09 pm ET

made a mistake i ment why is richerd in prison for a just killing.


Nellie Hudson   June 30th, 2010 2:21 pm ET

The five members of this fasmily know the truth of what went on in that home..Two members are deceased...Sounds like to me they had been terribly abused ....But, it is not an excuse to kill the parents....but, unfortunately it happens..God only knows what they went thru as children.....The mother should have got the children away from the maniac....but, sounds like she was messed up also.....


Allison   June 30th, 2010 3:11 pm ET

Ryan and Sunny were talking about how Stacey Kananen could get acquitted because the jury might have sympathy for her because of what she went through during her childhood. I personally believe that the jury should not acquit her because her brother, Richard, was not acquitted. Richard seemed to have gotten the brunt of the abuse from their parents and admitted to killing them, and he still got 30 years in prison. Now, I don't believe that both of them should get off scott free, they should both serve some amount of time in prison. But I think it would be wrong to acquit Stacey who is just as wrong as her brother is. I think that since they were both abused and both had a hand in the murder they should get the same amount of time in prison.


buckie   June 30th, 2010 4:00 pm ET

Susan,
Are a victim or a mother of the 70-80? I was just woundering. The lite might come on. My mother tried to leave may time's.
Today thing's have changed, you can get away shelter's batter woman sys so, as a mother you leave and the cop's give your childern to the father that who is really the bad one. back in the day it was hard when you had 8 kids and you gave up on life. If you in your heart have never been there then you do not know what you would do. Matt you are right why is richard in a prison for killing his dad that put him through hell. He had no choice back then even if he would have told a teacher, relative, minister or whom ever they would have called the parent's. Nobody want to belive you. I no I told and payed for it. You could not trust anybody back then. How much more do you need when your sister hasa child by him. So where her just.


Alan Segal   June 30th, 2010 4:42 pm ET

Richard Kananen said he had "lacerations" – I would think most people would say cuts and/or bruises... he is answering the prosecution questions too quickly, this is obviously a coached dialog. For example,. he listed all the states he lived in right away ... 123.. I think most people would pause as they think about where they lived. Not totally believable to me.


Belinda   June 30th, 2010 6:01 pm ET

A mother is equally guilty, if she allows the abuse. Women have options now, I'm not sure if women in the past were given any options, whatsoever. When people still care for the parent, it must mean that parent tried to be there for them. Many were probably afraid of being kicked out and not being there at all. If u had money in the old days u got the children. My heart breaks for abused children. They should never feel hopeless. There are people who care. We can do our part by keeping an eye on kids in our neighborhoods. People who abuse kids try to keep them out of sight. We should always reach out, even if it means being a little nosy. In this case , they should consider provocation. This mother abandoned her children in every way possible. How could they ever forget or forgive her? She helped make them what they turned out to be . Heartless and unforgiving. This is a very predictable story. Mothers cannot be cut any slack for allowing abuse, it is a tragedy waiting to happen .


Chris   June 30th, 2010 6:02 pm ET

I found the brother's testimoney very credible and honest. Keep in mind, (before you accuse him of smirking, etc.) that this is the adult child that was abused in numerous ways, for many years!!!

The mother is just as guilty and brought it upon herself. You do NOT just take the kids to Disneyland before and after they are abused! You leave with the children (while the man is at work or elsewhere) and get the Heck out of there!

I can fully-understand why these adult children "snapped" and had enough. Wouldn't you?


former high school boyfriend   June 30th, 2010 7:09 pm ET

With certainty, I can say one thing, While dating Stacey I seldom visited the house. It was clear to me that the father was a source of fear in the household. On more than one occasion I was not allowed to come over due to the father being in "one of those moods" and often saw Stacey come to School as well as her sister in tears or distraught over something that man did. I certainly don't condone murder and or the horrid treatment of one's Mother as described. I pray that it is unfounded that Stacey was not involved in the alleged killings. I might find some justification in the killing of the father but to kill your mother in the alleged fashion and for the alleged reasons are irreprehensible.


Holly H.   July 1st, 2010 9:47 am ET

You know, It is easy for everyone to sit and point fingers and blame the mother for not leaving, getting help. But what is not being thought of or being taken into sight is that alot of women that are in an abusive relationship/marriage, they themselves have low self esteem, no power, been told that they are worthless and nothing. Not Once, not twice, but many many times over and over again that they start to believe it. I am not condoning any actions or abuse towards children, but it is very sad that when a man beats, rapes, molests, torments, his wife and children, it is always the mother that gets the shame and ridicule from everyone. These women have been broken, beaten and emotionally scarred for life. They live in fear every min of every day,


laurie   July 1st, 2010 9:55 am ET

Isn't it odd the the father was killed right before Cheryl's wedding and the mother was killed right before the mother was going to try to take Cheryl's kids away from her. I'm just saying


Maurice   July 1st, 2010 10:22 am ET

I don't know whether necessarily believe the testimony or the motives of Richard Kananan, however; the prosecution seems to be making the case that the sister [Stacy] was implicit (that she had knowledge, or should have known) about the death of her mother. I don't think there is any reason for Stacy to attempt suicide with her brother if she had nothing to do with the death of her mother. In addition she profited along with her brother from her mother's death and from this I can only conclude that Stacy had some involvement in the mother's death – how much involvement is still uncertain to a degree. Are there any "lesser-includeds" in this case in a situation where Stacy did not commit the murder, but assisted after the fact with covering up the murder and profiting monitarily?

Thanks.


Mary Ann   July 1st, 2010 10:32 am ET

I think the sister is guilty, not that I blame either on of them. Richard has nothing to gain by saying the sister was in on it. If I was the mother, trust me, the father would have been shot the first time around. I would then call the police.


lorraine   July 1st, 2010 10:38 am ET

...just so sad...I totally believe richard...I wonder tho, why does he only get 30 years for 2 killings and stacy will get life just for helping in one??...


Rita   July 1st, 2010 11:05 am ET

As a victim of abuse myself I can see why this man has no feelings. However, if he could kill his father alone without Stacy, I feel he could kill his mother. I feel, he killed his mother because he never forgave his mother,


Bridgette   July 1st, 2010 11:12 am ET

There are some instances in life that deserve reprieve....These children were tortured beyond belief for decades.....They felt their only way out of the abuse was to eliminate the abusers.....As a result, none of them know how to function as adults in society....What a difference it might make if the state provided them with inpatient counseling and the type of nurturing they never got so they could possibly become productive members of society. How can we simply punish people who have never known anything other than torture and abuse and not try to help them? No one helped them when they were children, but the state can try to help them now with rehabilitation measures. Locking them up and throwing away the key is not the answer.


brenda   July 1st, 2010 11:26 am ET

people dont realize the lasting effects that being abused as a child leaves. my dad when he was a very angry man when he was a live.he was mostly verbally abuse. but i'm 60 yrs old and have never gotten over it.


SUE IN VT.   July 1st, 2010 11:37 am ET

i havn,t heard a reason why richard named stacy as aid in helping him on the night before the trile.Did she ever visit him in jail? Mabyhe was angry because she abandon him in jail? SUE IN VT.


D.Lowe   July 1st, 2010 11:42 am ET

This Kunanen trial. I wonder if covered?Did the mother know what happened to her husband from 1980"s. She continued cashing his checks.


Laura Anderson   July 1st, 2010 12:01 pm ET

As to the "Question of the day," I would have to say Richard Jr. is believable. I am thiniking plea agreement?


Lorrie R   July 1st, 2010 12:17 pm ET

I'm sorry , I do not condone what they he did, but I do understand it. They both got justice on this earth. I feel sorry for all three of the adult children, and I hope they will seek help to deal with their issues.
Those two parents got exactly what they deserved, it's just to bad they could not have been abused for years before they were killed. In my opinion both killings were justified.


Alisa   July 1st, 2010 12:29 pm ET

I believe his testimony wat does he have to gain by implicating his sister and why would she agree to take her own life if she had nothing to do with the murder. If someone was digging a hole in my yard I would know it!


Diana Harrison   July 1st, 2010 12:41 pm ET

I do not trust what Richard Kananen says!! By killing his parents, Richard proved that he thinks he can be judge, jury and executioner. His contact with his sister Cheryl's family was destructive and nearly ruined her relationships with her son and husband. I think he wants to put Stacy in jail for the rest of her life as his final act in destroying his entire family.


cory   July 1st, 2010 1:08 pm ET

I'm not making excuses for the mother but back in the day people didn't believe in divorce or leaving their husbands for any reson at all. Back in the day u stayed in that relationship no matter what was going on. Even if it was driving u crazy. There was no support system or help of aany kind. People looked bad at u if they heard u got a divorce. Now a days there is all kinds of help and support and women are empowered. That father got what he deserved as far as the mother I don't know. Did she deserved to be killed. Fuzzy on that one.


suzan   July 1st, 2010 1:17 pm ET

This is a situation of "no winners". No one can bring back these poor adult victums their childhood back. If anyone states "why would she attempt suicide, if she wan't culpable for the murder..... I can think of many reasons for this poor soul to want to "end the pain!"They will be damaged forever. One can only hope with years of therapy these torturted could "endur".


Jerry Keating   July 1st, 2010 1:18 pm ET

I would say richard is lieing like a rug. Just to save his behind. I think that all that abuse he endured he has mental illness.


steve robinson from maine   July 1st, 2010 1:29 pm ET

I steve robinson think that stacy was invalved in her mothers murter she was helping her bruther to get ridof the abuce in thair life i heve ben watching this all morning and i watch in seshaion every day i think that its good that the show lets people see how people are wen thair afected by the bad things in life but if she was going to kill herslefe she had to be invalved with somthing with this so i say yes she hade a part in this .


LaShonda   July 1st, 2010 1:32 pm ET

I feel that Richard is telling the truth. He is going against his sister because he feels that if they would have died in the suicide attempt then everyone would have known then. But since they did not successed in that attempt then since he had protected her all these years why would she admit to her wrong in this as well. All 3 have been though so much including their mother, that is why he is so emotionaless to me anyway. You can love or trust anyone after something like that. You have to remember the time frame of this abuse. Think about the movie the "Burning Bed" women just had to do whatever. He lied to procted him and his sister if he is so missed up in the head then how did he think of everything on his own. People can sit her and blame his mother, but as you remember no one reported the DAD missing so you don't know who all was involved in that murder. Richard just so happened dug up concert in his mothers garage and no one noticed. Come on people this whole family had problems at the hands of that monster. Stacey had some kind of part in the murder. He corrects MS Tennis when she's wrong I think he's telling the truth. What about the neighbor? Also is he so unstable then maybe he was the one taken advantage of maybe Stacey knew he killed dad and was like you can do it again and used Richard. It just so much going on in this family.

Thank You


Joanne   July 1st, 2010 1:42 pm ET

Personally, I think they should both walk away. Killing parent's that abuse children should be justifiable!


Mary Johnson   July 1st, 2010 2:07 pm ET

Mr Kanan has very short and direct answers
I believe he is being honest in his testimony
He seems to be hiding his feelings (if any)
Mary


steve robinson from maine   July 1st, 2010 2:18 pm ET

i steve robinson also feel that the suiside notes are real she did rite the note to save her kids and her gurlfriend. from the afects of law and to keep them not invalved her brother idmits it andshe shouldent let her bruther tack the blame she is lying and he is telling the truth it sounds resinable thay both did this


cheryl   July 1st, 2010 2:24 pm ET

I'm having trouble believing the brother. He is mentally unstable, not to say that the two sisters are playing with a full deck after all that abuse but, I keep remembering the same facial expressions and the way the questions are being answered by the brother that remind me of BTK and Scott Peterson to name a few. There are social paths out here that can look you straight in the face and lie. I really think in this man's sick mind his sister did something to piss him off so he's draging her down with him.


Notch   July 1st, 2010 2:27 pm ET

I think Richard already murdered two family members, so what is one more? He gets visits and whatever else the youngest sister gives him, so he wants to give her whatever she wants and she wants her sister in prison. I don't like any of these people. I think Cherly did know some of what he was doing, but I don't believe one thing from Richards mouth. Anyone that could lose 160 pounds to get out of jail, can't say that a lighter sentence wouldn't be his motivation. When he said the difference in the sentence made no difference to him, that is when you could tell the defense attorney had hit his sore spot. I think that sore spot was the truth. He only really reacted to that one question. The rest of the time he was more or less dead pan.


patricia diezel   July 1st, 2010 3:00 pm ET

i came from a mother who could of won 1st prize in child abuse if there was one. my mother raped, picked by the hair as high as she get and let go, kicked across the room, in the face, in the back, so on. there were a lot more, but i didn't kill her or abuse suffered by step- fathers. but i do sympathize with them. its sad that parents would and could do this. i started out as a single parent and couldn't because i didn't have one. i was an orphan all my life......


Lorrie R.   July 1st, 2010 3:24 pm ET

Are they guilty? Probably. I think the Mother knew every detail about the Father's killing, so did the oldest sister Cheryl. When She (the mother) threatened to reveal that information to authorities that's they killed her. Should they be punished for either killing? NO, they have already been punished. Their childhood was enough punishment. "Time Served!"


Lorrie R.   July 1st, 2010 3:37 pm ET

To: Bucky, I can relate because I too lived the same way as your family. I am so sorry about your Sister, I too was suicidal, the pain, guilt, rage and shame were just to hard to live with , it effected every aspect of my life and the older I got the worse I got. I thank God I found a Counselor who understood what adult victims of child abuse live with .It took years and was a very hard journey to take, but it was worth it. I wish you peace.
I wish the now adult Kananen Children Peace in their lives also.
Justifiable homicides


Wendy LaRocque   July 1st, 2010 4:06 pm ET

Richard really doesn't have anything to lose now. He is already doing prison time so I wonder what he has to gain by not protecting her now and testifying against her. Why would she not just admit it now considering she tried to "allegedly" commit suicide. Maybe Susan (her partner) convinced her to stand trial and deny everything. Is Susan going to be a character witness?


Johnnie Covington   July 2nd, 2010 9:21 am ET

Has anyone considered this as a possibility: The mother helped Stacey and possibly Richard murder the father. Richard and Stacey had a love/hate relationship with their mother because she did not protect them as children. Her involving them in the murder of the father would have made them hate her even more. Stacey and Richard killed the mother together. This is proven by Stacey's agreeing to commit suicide. I feel sorry for the children. The abuse ruined them for life.


Leslie Hyde   July 2nd, 2010 10:05 am ET

How coul the mother not know the father was buried in the family's garage? That they are not bringing this up makes me wonder about what else is being left out.


Shay, NC   July 2nd, 2010 10:10 am ET

I think the reason Richard Kananen's testimony seems so convincing is because he actually DID kill his mother. He's merely reciting the details of how he did it. It's not that much of a stretch for him to claim that Stacey was in on it. Whether she was or not remains to be seen.


Teecee   July 2nd, 2010 11:03 am ET

how do i watch the trial ? I have clicked on everything on this page and am not seeing it.. Is there a link ?


toni   July 2nd, 2010 11:43 am ET

the saddest part of the trial when once again an abused child, Cheryl, went next door for help when father threw boiling water at her, and she ran from the hot grease he was going to throw at her too, and the neighbor just closed the door on her. Stacey is guilty too. if she wasn't , why could she not look in her brother's eyes when he was testifying, if he wasn't telling the truth? her interview with the detective is conclusive making her guilty also. both abusive parents gone, and the grown children still afraid to ask where the money was coming from. give me a break!


Judy Greer   July 2nd, 2010 11:58 am ET

I don't see any use in punishing Stacy further. Rehabilitation is what is called for now. But most of all, there needs to be a resource for abused children to access.


Mark   July 2nd, 2010 12:05 pm ET

Did anyone else find it odd Stacey claimed to barely know how to turn on or use a computer?

I find it hard to believe with her work history that she didn't have a computer at her desk that she used daily.


Donna Krier   July 2nd, 2010 12:05 pm ET

I too have been abused mentally – Sexually – Verbally- By My Parents and several Uncles but,When I found myself in an abusive relationship , I found that he started abusing my kids !! I left the relationship,which was not an easy task, but I would lay down my life for my children.... That is a Mothers JOB !!!!!!! I also might add a Fathers also...


Maggie   July 2nd, 2010 12:07 pm ET

I think that Richard Kananen's testimony was credible. Aside from the fact that he admitted to everything he did, his answers were straight forward and made sense. I do not believe Stacey Kananen's interview with the police is credible. She didn't question her brother when he gave her $7,000? She didn't remember if her gave her cash or a check? Ridiculous. Who would put their mother's belongings in storage when she had been missing three months? Actually I think it was her plan and that is the reason she let her brother move in with her, so that she could manipulate him into killing their mother. That said, few children subjected to years of verbal, physical and sexual abuse develop into emotionally stable adults, and I still have a level of sympathy Richard and Stacey. I think the years of abuse set the stage for Richard, the protector, murdering his parents and the money was secondary. However, I think the money and a sense of entitlement might have been the precipitating factor for Stacey.


April   July 2nd, 2010 12:08 pm ET

Where were the grandparents when all this was happening.
Why should Stacey show concern,after her mom was killed was probably only time in her life she had peace.


J. Geiger   July 2nd, 2010 12:40 pm ET

Verdict should be not guilty. Richard should be pardoned. Both should be helped. Unspeakably abused by their parents, by the failure of "the system" and now by the state(prosecutors). Dexter(Richard) deserves a medal and a parade. What he did was good. What these prosecutors are doing is more persecuting. There is legality, and there is morality–not always the same by a long shot.


Cathy L   July 2nd, 2010 12:42 pm ET

I am #9 of 10 children who were horribly abused for many years at the hands of our mother. Unless you have walked in our shoes, do not tell us how or what a mother, father or child would think or do. It is too simplistic to say that you should tell someone or that a mother or father would do anything to protect their child!!! You are threatened if you tell, you are told everyday that you won't amount to cra*, you are incapable of being loved by anyone and that she is tired of giving birth to devils. Add to that being slapped around everyday, most of the time, for no reason at all, simply because she could. Our father never protected us, he was a weak man and a long distance truck driver who preferred to play dumb. He would leave us home with her for 5-6 days at a time. This is just the tip of the iceberg of the abuse we had in our lives everyday. As the older ones left my little brother and I remained unprotected. All kinds of things cross your mind, mostly just wanting it to go away. We were physically, mentally and sexually abused for years. The rest of my extended family knew, but, they too were afraid of my mother. It took 25 years of marriage before I realized that my husband really did love me and would never hurt me. He saved my life! When my mother died and my little brother called to tell me, I simply said to him, "and you are telling me this because? It was a long time coming!" Three of my brothers ended up in prison or dead because they were so screwed up. Just myself and my older brother ended up being able to move on and live productive lives, thanks to our spouses and incredible friends. My four sisters were married and divorced multiple times, with 2 of them having married men who were abusive to them. Out of the 10 4 were alcoholics. My baby brother died from liver cancer, his body was found behind a liquor store having passed out on a cold fall evening. So unless you have walked in our shoes don't judge us. What you would do or should do becomes very murky and in our world you think all kinds of things, just to survive!!! Be careful, the best friend or the neighbor could very well be abusing or came from an abusive home. Never judge for you never really know!!!


carol kesling   July 2nd, 2010 5:01 pm ET

@joanne, i could not agree with you more !!!!! let them both go......


Claudia   July 3rd, 2010 10:28 am ET

I was repeatedly molested by a family member for the first 12 or 13 years of my life. Although I later learned that this relative was a prolific pedophile who had molested hundreds of little girls, he was never held accountable for his actions. My father, who was physically and mentally abusive, further betrayed me by maintaining a close relationship with this predator for the rest of his life. In my mid-30s, I was faced with the "opportunity" to end the life of this monster, but through the grace of God I was able to walk away. While I do not condone their actions, I completely understand why Richard Kananen killed his parents and why Stacey may have helped murder her mother.


ea   July 4th, 2010 7:33 am ET

stacy got away with murder. she was in on it the whole way and played crazy when questioned by detectives.


lorraine   July 6th, 2010 10:51 am ET

when are we gonna see the rest of the trial??...I thought for sure it'd be on this morning?????....


Myrna   July 6th, 2010 3:53 pm ET

My father was physically and emotionally abusive and my Mom never intervened. My siblings and I are not close. My father managed to divide and conquer us and we are still divided to this day. I think it's a shame that Cheryl Kananen has decided to turn against her siblings and that Richard Kananen has now turned against Stacey as well. They should've protected each other even into adulthood. Their fractured relationship is a consequence of the abuse they suffered.


buckie   July 8th, 2010 8:57 am ET

I wounder if the mother new that the son killed the dad and didn't say anything because she was free from him.


Janie   July 8th, 2010 12:35 pm ET

Richard, the brother who testified, said he was on Prozac. That expains his monitone actions on the stand. (no emotions). I believe he telling the truth. I also was on Prozac years ago. It make you docile and agreeable. You can't cry or show any emotion. Its like being dead inside.


Patti   July 8th, 2010 1:23 pm ET

First of all, I feel sorry for all three adults for the horror they endured as children. But, I truly believe Stacey was involved in the killing of her mother. if she wasn't, why would they have found her mother's body found under a rock garden in her yard. And her partner , I feel knew the truth about what happened to Stacey's mother too. She also resided in this home. There just is no possible way that everything that had been done could be done by one person. Someone else was involved from start to finish. And I say it was STACEY !


mbarsana   July 8th, 2010 2:05 pm ET

I believe that Stacey was an accomplice to the crime. I don't think that she actually killed anyone, merely assisted.


Linda   July 8th, 2010 3:05 pm ET

i don't think she was involved in the murder of her mother. I do think she may knew her brother had killed her and shared in the money and just didn't turn him in. Also if this jury finds her guilty she should not get life.


Carolyn   July 9th, 2010 10:26 am ET

It's a wash. It was certainly prompted by her guilt, but that guilt could have been because she helped kill her mother or because she knew what her brother had done.


Anthony Parent   July 9th, 2010 12:16 pm ET

The suicide attempt was prompted to establish one of a few scenarios. 1. Either an attempt to evade prosecution out of guilt. 2. use of attempted suicide to plea an insane defense. 3. To amplify the abuse they endured. In any case. The guilt seems to be evident and, the attempted suicide, could only show guilt of the crime. Otherwise the attempted suicide would of occurred sooner.


Marcia Alderman Rowdy Girl   July 9th, 2010 1:25 pm ET

I think that we need to remember that there are 12 years difference in the ages of Richard and Stacey which may not be much now but was considerable when the father was killed. Stacey seems to be highly dependant and trusting with her brother. Although the suicide made her look guilty, of what was she feeling guilty, stealing money from her mother when she found out that the story protecting the funds from and protecting her mother from the IRS involvement was proven false. And what did her brother tell her about how a lesbian would be treated in prison. I am not yet convinced that she participated in the murder.


Davey Schmidt   July 9th, 2010 1:46 pm ET

Why wasn't the duct tape in the house tested at the last torn edge? That certainly wasn't degraded.


Meintennessee   July 9th, 2010 1:48 pm ET

I can't believe the jurors found this woman not guilty! She literally got away with murder!


Davey Schmidt   July 9th, 2010 2:19 pm ET

Who is influencing who in this family? So far the prosecution has missed the boat on pulling Stacy into this murder. No doubt she is guilty of fraud. She is an intelligent woman. I think she is capable of controlling Richard, but this was not proven. You certainly can't rely on Richard's testimony nor the older sister who has her own axe to grind. The detective was not thorough, and didn't seem to care enough to prepare himself for the trial to answer questions. His continual, "I do not know or I can't recall" really began to irritate me.


Kurt Throne   July 9th, 2010 11:29 pm ET

In the case of Florida v Stacey Kananen, I find it hard to believe Stacey Kananen would not have a clue regarding how her mother's body was buried in her backyard. This is another tragic case in which an abused little girl grows up to take the law into her own hands.


Jean   July 13th, 2010 3:14 pm ET

In the 70's there was no protection for women or children. My husband beat and abused me but not the children. The law told me I could leave but I could not take my children. I wasn't about to leave my babies with him, so I stayed. 12 years I went through beatings, I had no where to go. But when he slapped my 11 year old son across the room, I snapped and shot him. No I did not kill him but at the time I wouldn't have cared if I had. As it turned out, while he was in the hospital for that, they found stage 4 terminal bladder cancer and he passed away from that nine months later. Even though he didn't abuse the children, they saw the things he did to me and that is enough for me to advise any woman that lives with someone who abuses her to take her children and leave. go as far and as fast as you can. Go to any DHS Office and they will help you, because if you wait, the long run consequences can be almost as devestating to your children and you. You or your children could wind up dead. In todays world, I would never put up with it one minute, much less a life time.


Jean   July 13th, 2010 3:29 pm ET

Plus I dont know whether Stacy helped him or not but I pray for Gods forgiveness for both her and her brother if she did. I know neighbors heard my screams and cries for help many nights as I was thrown out of the house into the snow, freezing, with no shoes or coat. They did nothing to help me which I know they were also scared of retaliation from him. It was called "not wanting to get involved". You can bet if I ever hear one of those screams , I will get involved, I will help because sometimes thats the only hope they have. And I also advise, until you've walked in another persons shoes, dont claim to know anything about a the situation because there are always secrets behind closed doors. Until you have been beaten, scared, alone and broken down, dont claim to know how they feel because I promise, you have no clue what its like living with an abuser.


AJ   July 13th, 2010 7:51 pm ET

Everyone is quick to jump all over the mother and say its was her job to protect her children, but it's also a father's job! Everyone is shouting about leaving or divorcing the father and all the help that is out there, but you have to remember this all occurred in the 60's, 70's, 80's before there really was all these resources. Back then you didnt question someone elses parenting methods, you didnt call the police on your neighbors, there was not a plethora of shelters and battered women/children safe houses. It was definetly not as easy back then as it would be today. And even with the resources available today, there is still a huge problem of child abuse. The non-abusing parent (be it the mother or father) is also suffering abuse and has been broken down and almost brainwashed to the point it is highly unlikely they will seek help. Right or wrong, it is reality. It's easy to sit back and say "oh, just leave him" when you are not in that situation. Everyone will sit there and say they would leave the first time someone layed a hand on them or their kids but I guarantee you the person suffing through that situation also said the same thing until they found themselves trapped in it.

For those of you saying this was justified.... maybe morally, but definetly not legally. The mother was not the abusive parent and at the time her death, the abuse had stopped (for almost 15yrs) so there was no imminent threat or fear for their life. Now, there could be a case for justification in the father's death if Stacey was the one that killed him because she was still living in the home at that time and probably was still enduring the abuse so she could claim she had a fear for her life. But Stacey is not charged with his death.


Randall Blimline   July 14th, 2010 9:36 am ET

What motive would Richard have to lie by implicating his sister? How about jealousy – remember that the sister said that the father stated that Stacey was his only biological child – this could be a way of Richard to get back at Stacey for the years of abuse he had to suffer and not her.


Kathy Wildman   July 14th, 2010 11:22 am ET

I hope the jurors will remember what their role is- to find the accused innocent or guilty ONLY if there is Proof beyond reasonable doubt. In this case, it is impossible to have that proof beyond reasonable doubt. This woman has sufferered her whole life, set her free. I don't believe she is guilty-she MUST be found innocent because there is reasonable doubt here. Shamefully, jurors often have no clue what their roles are and tend to judge the accused based on faulty prosecution. People need to be aware, if cases like this are allowed by the courts and prosecuted, we are all in danger of having a mentally impaired person point a finger of accusation at us, and ruin our lives. Imagine the amount of money that these lawyers charge to defend an innocent person, it is more than the average person has in savings that is for sure. Jurors need to be educated on the importance of their role. They control the accused life with their decision, right or wrong. Please be aware of reasonable doubt before ruling one way or another.


rj   July 14th, 2010 2:22 pm ET

From experience, parent(s) who abuse, in whatever type, their children begin killing their childrens' souls from the onset of the abuse. This "scatters" a sense of self for the children who go on to become adults. Watching Ms. Kananen on the stand; I cannot believe that she knew of or participated in either of these murders.


Melanie Richardson   July 14th, 2010 3:43 pm ET

The parents desensitized those children. It seems as if the brother has always been in charge. The mother knew what was going on in her home...and if Stacy did murder her...then Stacy should get a award..not prison. She is finally free from those hell bound parents......after all, the parents KILLED who she could have been!!! however, she has to live...each and every day....with the memories of what those hell bound parents caused. They may be dead....and no longer have to face the night mayors of what they did...but poor Stacy, she has no choice but to live with the rapes and abuse...and judgment...everyday!


Sue Kier   July 14th, 2010 11:57 pm ET

not guilty...give this woman what she has left of her life.


debgetfar   July 15th, 2010 1:21 am ET

I think Richard Jr. is probably a lot like his father, controlling, manipulating. He probably killed the mother, told Stacy and threatened her with her life if she did not assist him. with a cover up. When at the police station I think she thought she was in trouble over helping Richard get money from the account. I think Stacy is innocent and when Richard finally told her what he had done she was torn, scared.Often in families of abuse secrecy is very important and failure to keep secrets can mean your life. He trapped her to try and implicate her and as a means of control. Obviously Richard learned from the best....She is not gulity of murder, but a victim of not only her father and a mother who failed to protect her bit also a victim of her brother who is a great con.


beth moore   July 15th, 2010 3:03 am ET

I hope the jury lets her go, I think her brother just wants someone else to be jailed besides him. Don't care for the sister not on trial,I bet she's in on the whole thing too. The brother is nuts thats for sure.


Debbie Hollingsworth   July 15th, 2010 1:47 pm ET

For Richard to be so protective, he is contradicting himself by implicating Stacey. Seems he has some twisted fixation on his sister. This is his last opportunity to control her!


Shay, NC   July 19th, 2010 10:51 am ET

I think Stacey is more credible than Richard. Richard is clearly deranged and the obvious mastermind behind Marilyn's murder. Stacey is just one more of his victims.


elaine   July 19th, 2010 12:19 pm ET

I honestly don't believe stacey knew or had anything to do with the murder of her mother. Childern who went through this much abuse obviously don't think or act like most of use who had normal childhoods.


syoung   July 19th, 2010 12:54 pm ET

The only reason Cheryl wanted Stacey convicted is so that she can sole access to any of the money left over and that no one will interfere with her own family abuse.


Beege   July 19th, 2010 1:35 pm ET

If you have been abused to the point that Stacey had, you learn not to question the dominated people around you. I do believe that Stacey believed that her mother left on her own and everything her brother was telling her.
All the evidence points to Richard testimony and his control over his sister.


Laura Thomas   July 19th, 2010 2:50 pm ET

I think Stacey and her brother both murdered their mother for one reason and one reason only – for the money. I believe they are both guilty. I also believe Stacey had knowledge of her father's murder, although I am not sure of she had anything to do with it.


darren farmer   July 19th, 2010 3:09 pm ET

I think if they had all the evd. to convict her why didnt they do it then i do not belive a word her brother says


Tracye   July 19th, 2010 3:27 pm ET

how terrible their lives must have been. Cheryl was the only one who got past it, Richard suffered his entire life and poor stacy chose a same sex partner an dno children. It is horrendous that they were not protected as children but at some point you either get help...or walk away and create a new and better life. It is terrible what was done to the parents, but even worst was how they destoyed their childrens life way into adulthood. Stacy should see the jail house for sure, she played a part if nothing but the knowledge of what her brother was doing.....she received monies he stole and she didn't seem at all like she didn't do anything in that interview room. She thinks she is above the law, Richard I beleive he told the truth and opted to make a deal to at lease have some sort of closure. As for Stacy she thinks the judicial system lacks and that she will get away with it. SHe will not!!! The fact that the mother was buried at her home, that she comtemplated suicide WITH her brother and the fact that she spent the money is enough to lock her up for life. SHe should have made aa deal like her brother!!!


perry huffman   July 19th, 2010 3:28 pm ET

i would find her not guilty,period.


Connie   July 19th, 2010 3:51 pm ET

I think the whole family knew exactly what happened to the father and all conspired to hide his death by burying in the garage. The mother knew and continued to collect the checks all those years. Cheryl obviously has continued the pattern by having abuse in her own home and was about to lose her children as well. Richard did not try to protect his sister at all and I believe pulled her into this very easily because as someone who was abused all her life, she is easily influenced and manipulated which is classic. They treated Richard as an animal from the testimony and any animal will turn on you once they have the opportunity which is exactly what he did. I don't think he is credible because he has changed his stories too many times and Stacey probably knew after the fact and was helping him cover it up. I don't see her as violent, but I do think she knew before she claims she did and felt guilty for helping him. I feel sorry for all of them for being raised by those horrible people.


Cyndee   July 20th, 2010 1:53 am ET

No one has the right to take another life unless in defense of their own. However I have no sympathy for the mother. What kind of mother stands outside of her burning home along side her husband whom she knows has abused her children and she does nothing to save them. Yet she watches her son climb a trellise to get back in to the burning home to rescue his sisters. You would have to drag me from that house before I would leave my children behind. Speaks volumes as to what kind of mother/human being she was.
Stacey is innocence of the crime she is charged with as far as I'm concerned. I can understand her lack reaction to things most would take for granted. I too was horribly abused by my father. However my mother knew nothing of it. My father made sure of that and I was not going to tell. After all I thought it was my fault because he told me it was. He also told me my mother would leave if she found out and as a child I believed him. Many things go through the head of the abused. We should never assume anything. With that said I still believe Stacey is innocent.
If ever I'm in need of an attorney I would hope it to be Ms. Tennis!!! I believe she has done a great job defending Stacey.


Marcella   July 20th, 2010 9:40 am ET

I believe Stacey should be found innocent. I have a boat load of reasonable doubt with this case.


Marilyn   July 20th, 2010 2:24 pm ET

These children were let down, by all the neighbors, police, children services, so they done the world a service, they should of got a medal,


Marilyn   July 20th, 2010 2:26 pm ET

It is just a terrible injustice what had happen to these people as children, their is alot of people that shoucl be in jail, and it is not any of these peopleit is the services that are suppose to look out for kids like this.


georgia   July 21st, 2010 3:12 pm ET

I find it very interesting how the sister and her husband do not look at each other and always have one or two people sitting between them. There is something else going on here.


Tricia   August 4th, 2010 2:58 pm ET

You look at Stacey, and every vestige of femininity is gone, more than likely due to the sexual abuse at the hands of the father. Those three kids looked to their mother for rescue and protection, but she was a victim of abuse herself, in her childhood and in the marriage. Possibly Stacey was angry with her mother for not protecting her, and figured if she wasn't any use to her alive, she could be some use to her dead.



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