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Mother Vs. Son In Murder Trial

When Gabriel Polk heads to the witness stand again Tuesday in the trial of the woman charged with murdering his father, he can expect much more than tough, grueling questions from the defense attorney.

As CBS News correspondent John Blackstone reports, Polk will continue to be cross-examined by his mother, Susan Polk, who's accused of stabbing to death her therapist husband and Gabriel's father in the pool house of their home in the affluent San Francisco suburb of Orinda, Calif., in October 2002.

Polk is acting as her own attorney. Famed defense lawyer Daniel Horowitz, who was representing her, left the case after his own wife was killed in an unrelated incident.

"Susan Polk wants some vindication, some dialogue with her son, for him to acknowledge that that she was a good mother," says legal expert Paula Canny.

"Do you recall being a happy child?" Susan asked Gabriel early in her cross-examination.

"I remember moments of happiness," Gabriel responded.

Several times, says Blackstone, Gabriel referred to "the night you murdered Dad."

"What's clear," says Canny, "is that he is very angry at her, and every opportunity he gets to attack her, he takes advantage of that, and that's the danger of representing yourself."

Susan admits she killed her husband, Felix Polk, but says it was in self-defense after he attacked her.

In a jailhouse interview, she repeated claims she endured decades of abuse by her husband: "He would threaten to kill me. … He would physically overpower me … rape, threats to the children."

But on the witness stand, Gabriel, 19, said it was his mother who was the violent one.

"Parents in the neighborhood was scared of you," he said, "scared of our family, generally."

Susan and Felix first met when she was 15 and he was the 40-year-old psychologist she went to for treatment.

"He took advantage of me sexually," Susan said.

But they got married when she was 25, and remained married for 20 years.

In her unusual cross-examination, Susan spent hours trying to discredit her son, going all the way back to incidents when he was in sixth grade.

At times, Blackstone said, she sobbed briefly while asking questions about their family life.

Throughout, however, Gabriel remained calm and composed.

He conceded to Susan that she'd raised him to tell the truth, but said Susan isn't, calling her "delusional."

Gabriel's stint won't be the end of the uncomfortable family courtroom showdown. His two older brothers are also expected to testify, one for his mother, one against.

In another strange twist, Eli Polk, the brother set to testify in Susan's defense, was arrested last week on charges of battering his girlfriend.

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