Catherine Phinney’s face flooded with a mother’s love Thursday on the stand when she looked at a photograph of her 20-year-old daughter, Janet, who was strangled and dumped into the woods behind the family’s West Roxbury home 25 years ago.
“Oh, she looks mad,’’ Phinney told a prosecutor in a gentle moment describing a photo of her daughter when she was alive during a Suffolk Superior Court murder trial in which jurors had already seen photos of Janet Phinney’s brutalized body.
Catherine Phinney spoke about her daughter as she testified against Michael Coker, Janet Phinney’s onetime boyfriend, who is accused of killing her on March 18, 1988. Prosecutors said Coker was “fixated and obsessed’’ with restarting the dating relationship Janet Phinney had ended.
In his opening statement, Assistant Suffolk District Attorney Mark Hallal said that the couple began dating in fall 1987 and that by the time Janet Phinney tried to end it in early 1988, she had become a heroin addict struggling to break free of both Coker and drugs.
But Coker relentlessly stalked her by telephone, at her home, and in the West Roxbury neighborhood where the Phinneys lived, he said. Hallal said that on March 18, Coker met Janet Phinney at her home on Cedar Road, where they had sex.
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