When Diane Brown learned that her foster son, Jason Aaron DeLong, had been arrested in Florida days after his mother was fatally stabbed in Westminster, she thought the reason he went there was to do the same thing to his father, she testified in Carroll Circuit Court yesterday.
"I was concerned that he was going to kill his father," the Taneytown woman told the jury of nine women and three men during Mr. DeLong's trial on first-degree murder charges.
"I didn't know what state of mind he was in, I didn't know what he would do."
Mr. DeLong, 19, is charged in the July 1993 slayings of his mother, Cathryn Brace Farrar, and her boyfriend, George William Wahl. He was arrested five days after the Westminster killings a few miles from his father's home in Jupiter, Fla.
The defendant's girlfriend of one week, Sara Elizabeth Citroni, 18, also was arrested. She pleaded guilty to the slayings last month.
Mr. DeLong has pleaded innocent and not criminally responsible because of insanity.
Mrs. Brown wasn't alone in her concern for Mr. DeLong's father. According to testimony Monday, police in Jupiter began watching Donald and Kim DeLong's home in the days before Jason DeLong was arrested.
Donald DeLong told the jury Monday that he wasn't particularly worried for his family's safety when he heard that his former wife had been murdered.
That changed, he said, "after two or three officers came to the house and practically begged and pleaded for us to leave the house. I got worried then."
Yesterday Mrs. Brown described the troubled child she and her husband took in for three months in 1991 and for three months in 1993.
She told the jury that she was surprised to learn of his background of abuse, neglect and peculiar tastes in clothes, music and books.
"Our initial impression was that he was a typical teen-ager," Mrs. Brown said. Jason DeLong was sent to her home in April 1991 after social service workers took him from Ms. Farrar's custody because of a finding of neglect.
Then the teen-ager began to tell stories. Mrs. Brown said Mr. DeLong claimed to have burned down his grandfather's house and said he did it because "he deserved it."
She testified that he told her Ms. Farrar would ask him to take showers with her and sleep in her bed "because she was scared." And he claimed to have stabbed somebody at school, Mrs. Brown said,
"Shocked is not the word, but he was not what we expected," she said. "We felt he was not an appropriate foster child placement."
Mrs. Brown said the youth would often be "in his own world" listening to "acid rock" on headphones for hours in the dark in the family's unfinished basement.
Mrs. Brown and her husband asked social workers to remove Jason DeLong from their home in 1991 after he told one of their children, "Wouldn't it be neat if we woke up one morning and found everybody slashed?"
Mr. DeLong was sent to live with his father in Florida later that year. About 15 months later, he was sent back to Maryland, where he eventually reunited with the Browns.
He left them in July 1993.
Mrs. Brown was one of several defense witnesses who testified yesterday.
In the first testimony to support a defense assertion of a pattern of generational abuse in Ms. Farrar's family, her younger sister, Patricia Ann Duvall, told the jury that she on numerous occasions witnessed their father having sexual intercourse with Ms. Farrar in the family's North Carolina home.
She also testified that her father was involved in Satanism. On one occasion, she said, her father dressed in a white sheet, sculpted horns in his hair and told the family he was a "white witch" who would rid the house of evil.
She also said Jason DeLong was interested in Satanism, and her sister, "like most people have of the unknown," had a little bit of interest in it.
Last week, prosecutors introduced two Satanic books that were found in Jason DeLong's bedroom.
The defense is expected to continue presenting witnesses today.