Son On Trial In Denison Woman's Death - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

Son On Trial In Denison Woman's Death

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SHERMAN, TX -- Testimony began in the trial of a man accused of killing his mother and then setting her home on fire.

Jurors watched a videotape with a dramatic confession made by the man, John Saxon, 30, who is charged with killing his mother, Mary Saxon, 47, at her West Loy Lake Road home last October.

Family members say they don't dispute he killed his mother, but they say he didn't know what he was doing. On the videotape, Saxon confesses to driving to his mother's Denison home around 1 a.m. that night from a friend's Southmayd home, and beating her to death with a shovel.

"I do know that Mary Lee was afraid of him at the last," says neighbor Phyllis Mercer. "She had called me and told me that she had to take him down to the VA, but they released him and said he was not a threat."

Family members say the month before the murder, John Saxon spent three days at the VA hospital in Dallas, where they changed his combination of drugs for post-traumatic stress disorder.

They say that after a first deployment to Iraq in 2003, his second tour around 2007 -- where he went from a Bradley tank driver to a gunner, and was in combat -- changed him.

"He had bought a home, raising his three kids, had a job, was doing very well, and then received a letter from the military to come back in, called him back in after three years and the second tour he was over there just did not come back the same John," says relative Barry Walker.

On Tuesday, a Grayson County deputy testified that when he got the call about a murder and fire, he sent another unit over to this house to check it out and they found that it was on fire. He says when he arrived in Southmayd, Saxon immediately admitted to the crime.

"He's guilty of what he did, there's no questioning of who did what, the question was is he in his right mind and no he wasn't," says Walker.

In a second videotape taken at the Children's Advocacy Center, a four-year-old nephew who Saxon admits to pulling from Mary's bed that night said that John Saxon set it on fire using a lighter.

Mary Saxon's friend still remembers the night the fire trucks came, but no ambulance, and what Mary once told her about her son. "She told me she was really proud John was going in the Army, but then of course she said, I'm worried about him being in the Army, going to maybe Iraq," says Mercer.

Texas Ranger Brad Oliver showed jurors two spade-like shovels and two knives recovered from the burnt house, and according to a Dallas coroner, Mary Saxon was stabbed twice in the neck and had blood on her brain that would be consistent with beating by a shovel.

At the beginning of the confession, John Saxon mentions that he believes his mother was injecting him with needles in his armpits, but authorities believe that did not happen.

Testimony in the case will continue on Wednesday and prosecutors say they believe the trial could go to the jury by Thursday. Saxon is charged with both murder and arson.