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Richard Lyon Trial: 1991-92

Doctor's Suspicions Prompt Investigation, Lawyer Promises Perry Mason Defense, A Marriage On The Rocks

Defendant: Richard Allen Abood Lyon
Crime Charged: Murder
Chief Defense Lawyer: Dan C. Guthrie
Chief Prosecutor: Jerri Simms
Judge: John C. Creuzot
Place: Dallas, Texas
Date of Trial: December 2, 1991-January 19, 1992
Verdict: Guilty
Sentence: Life in prison and $10,000 fine

SIGNIFICANCE: This murder case had all the elements of a good "whodunit": old money, a marriage gone sour, and arsenic poisoning. The accused husband, a suave Harvard graduate, took the stand in his own defense, almost convincing the jury of his innocence. Then the prosecution brought in a last-minute surprise witness with startling information that sealed Lyon's fate.

An autopsy revealed that when Nancy Dillard Lyon died, she had nearly 100 times the normal amount of arsenic in her body. In other words, the 37-year-old wife, mother, and wealthy Harvard graduate had been poisoned to death. All signs eventually pointed to her adulterous husband, Richard, as her murderer. But was he capable of such a thing?

The first real clue that he was came soon after Richard took Nancy to the emergency room of Dallas's Presbyterian Hospital. For weeks, Nancy had complained of nausea and headaches. Friends noticed her behavior had become increasingly erratic.

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Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1989 to 1994