Sisters testify about the night triplet was killed

Defendant breaks down during trial

NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. - The defendant, Betty Jo Tagerson, was sobbing so loudly at one point, Judge Michael Andrews dismissed the jury and asked if she needed time to compose herself.

She is accused of vehicular homicide in the death of five-year-old Delaney Rossman.

Isabelle and Gabrielle Rossman, now seven years old, wore matching white dresses with pink sweaters as a bailiff brought them brought into a Pasco County courtroom.

The judge decided swearing in a 7-year-old wasn't necessary.

The girls told the jury what they remember from November 5, 2010, when the the triplets were in a neighbor's front yard together with their older sister and a friend.

"We were playing tag and we were making sand castles," Gabrielle said.

Isabelle took the stand first. She and Delaney were identical. She was asked how many sisters she has.
"Now I have two. I used to have three."

She told the jury about seeing Delaney after the crash. "I remember I saw her laying down on the grass. She wouldn't breathe, but I remember somebody helping her trying to breathe. But she still wouldn't breathe."

Gabrielle was next. She was seriously hurt that day. Her injuries included several broken bones and a collapsed lung.

She remembers very little about the crash.

"All I remember is a big black spot."

Prosecutors say the girls' neighbor, Betty Jo Tagerson, angrily left her house just down the block after an argument with her boyfriend.

They say she peeled out and immediately lost control of her Jeep that wasn't fit for driving.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, Tagerson hit a mail box and a truck before slamming into the girls.

"Gabrielle was lying on the ground screaming, and Delaney wasn't screaming," said the girl's mother, Danielle Malm.

With Tagerson sobbing, Malm talked about the panicked moments trying to save her daughters.  "I was trying to make Gabrielle feel better and tell her that I was there. And then I would turn around and try to breathe for Delaney."

Malm said Delaney never showed any signs of life. The defense did not question the young girls at all. They will argue a medical condition caused Tagerson to black out behind the wheel.

She may testify in her own defense before this trial ends in the next couple of days.

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