‘A child in a man’s body’: Family takes the stand in Anselmo murder trial

LAKE COUNTY, Fla. — Ian Anselmo’s attorney continued laying down the groundwork Wednesday, explaining to the court that the now 26-year-old - while intelligent -- isn’t like other people.


His father, John Anselmo, never allowed Ian nor his siblings outside or to socialize with others outside of the family.

While he had a Mensa IQ, Ian is described by his family as a child in a man’s body.

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He would dress up, play wrestle, watch cartoons and speak to his stuffed animal, Puppy.

John said he and Sue Ellen encouraged it. He said Ian and his stepmom had a close relationship and since he didn’t have a license, she would take him to wrestling shows.

“Me and my wife both found it endearing,” said John Anselmo.

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But endearing is the last way Ian’s stepsister, Deja-Thoris Waite, would describe her home life.

Waite testified that there was constant abuse. Waite said John Anselmo sexually abused her while she lived at the home, ultimately resulting in her running away.

Waite said her mom was afraid of both Ian and John Anselmo, so she took their younger children and moved out.

15-year-old Rajko Anselmo said it was something he was not on board with. Anselmo’s lawyer explained this is just one was that John Anselmo brainwashed his family into a cult-like atmosphere.

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“She said my father did a very bad thing. And boom I realized she’s trying to take my father and put him in jail. We knew she would do stuff like this because it would always happen when she was expecting,” said Rajko Anselmo.

It was a week later that Sue Ellen was killed. Anselmo told a 911 operator he strangled and killed his stepmom at Greenwood Cemetery.

Waite also told Channel 9 she wants people to remember that her mother is a victim here in this case -- not Ian -- and that her name does not deserve to be dragged through the mud.

Ian Anselmo is charged with second-degree murder and first-degree murder of an unborn child.

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