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By Amy M. E. Fischer
TACOMA — Daniel Flanary’s mother was using a line of methamphetamine almost every day for six months leading up to her son’s fatal shooting, she said in her sworn deposition.
Attorneys read sections of Marleen Reed’s deposition to jurors in federal court this week. Although her thoughts seemed scattered, and she had difficulty finishing her sentences, Reed made it clear that she loved and missed her son, describing their relationship as “really close.”
“Daniel was real easy-going. Daniel was a teddy bear … He was clown of the class,” said Reed, who suffers from a bi-polar disorder.
Earlier this week, jurors heard testimony that it was the antidepressant medications Reed gave her son from her own stash of prescription drugs that triggered his two dramatic manic episodes, one of which ended with a fatal gunshot wound to the chest.
Dennis Flanary Sr., Daniel’s father, took the stand in the civil trial Tuesday. A barrel-chested, bearded man with a gray ponytail draping down the back of his navy blazer, Dennis Flanary told the court about the custody problems he faced over the children he fathered with Reed, whom he never married.
The family moved frequently, and Daniel and his brother bounced back and forth between their parents until settling down with their mother when they were teenagers, he testified.
Daniel Flanary’s parents are suing the city of Kelso over the wrongful death of their 19-year-old son, accusing police of using excessive force when they tried to apprehend the bi-polar teen. On Feb. 19, 2001, a Kelso police officer shot and killed Flanary when he lunged at a group of officers with a pair of flattened spoons that he brandished like an ice pick.
In addition to punitive damages, Flanary’s parents are seeking compensation for the loss of their son.
Under cross-examination, the city’s defense attorney asked Dennis Flanary a series of questions about his son’s education. Flanary could not recall where his son attended junior and senior high school or name any of his teachers or principals during those years.
Dennis Flanary, a long-haul trucker, also acknowledged he hadn’t seen his son’s report cards from the last few years of his schooling, although he said he had asked Daniel about them.
The week his son was shot, Dennis Flanary had been driving a truck to Colorado to pick up a load, he testified. His youngest son, Dennis Jr., had called him a couple of days before the shooting to tell him his brother was acting strangely, he said. But when he spoke to Daniel on the phone, he sounded normal, the father said.
Dennis Flanary Sr. also testified that, given his conversations with Daniel’s doctors three weeks earlier when the teen was in a psychiatric ward, he was surprised to learn that his son had been discharged. He had been under the impression Daniel would be held at St. John Medical Center longer than 16 days, he said.
Court proceedings have been held three to four days a week since the trial began April 18. Monday, the defense will call its last expert witness, a crisis intervention trainer.
Attorneys expect to present final statements and jury instructions either late Monday or early Tuesday. The eight-member jury must reach a unanimous verdict to find the city liable in the case.