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But medication has in the past successfully helped "tamp down" the intensity of Lafferty’s delusional thinking, he added. It would, for example, make it possible to reduce Lafferty’s paranoia about his attorneys — whom he apparently believes are in cahoots with the state of Utah and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to keep him in prison — so he is able to work with them.
Weeks said after the hearing that her "layman’s" take on the situation is that Lafferty "loathes his counsel. He referred to them as snakes, he does not trust them and therefore they think he is delusional because he does not want to assist them."
Weeks has attended 20 to 30 hearings for Lafferty, in keeping with a promise she made at the time of her sister’s death to see the process through. On Friday, she attended with two daughters.
"I’m here for my sister Brenda. I don’t ever want her to be alone," said Weeks. "I’m here for my family, who has a difficult time dealing with all the details over and over and over again. I’m here for my children. It is a wonderful experience for them as far as education goes to be able to witness our judicial system in action."
If there was one surprise on Friday, it was how healthy and lively Lafferty appeared, Weeks said.
"My understanding has been he has not been assisting his counsel in his own representation," Weeks said. "I guess I kind of expected him to be zoned-out."
Lafferty "actually looks healthier now than he did at his 1996 trial," she said. "He looked really good. He was smiling, he was tearing up pieces of paper and playing with them."
That’s good news, she added, because "we have a few more years left of this until we can get through this process. ... I would like him to stay in good health so he can see his sentence come to fruition."
It has taken decades for Weeks and the rest of Brenda’s family — parents, four other sisters and a brother — to "wrap their minds around the story" of what happened, to finish the puzzle. While the legal process has dragged on, Weeks said she "respects the system" and believes it has "worked well for my family" — at least to this point.
But it’s Brenda, not the legal system or the Lafferty brothers, that occupy their thoughts most days.
"We talk about her all the time," Weeks said. "I rarely think about Ron Lafferty, but I think about Brenda every single day. Every single day."
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