Thursday, September 1, 2011

Closing Arguments in Stewart Case Underway

Closing arguments in the case of State v. Robert Stewart are presumably underway, as they were scheduled to begin at 9:15am.

Robert Stewart, on trial for his life.
The issues before the jury are whether Mr. Stewart is guilty (8 counts) of 1st degree murder, on a theory of premeditation and deliberation murder; guilty of 2nd degree murder (malicious killing without premeditation) or not guilty (on theory that his actions were unconscious, due to drugs he was on).

Judge Webb rejected submitting lesser crimes to the jury (voluntary or involuntary manslaughter). Judge Webb also made clear that the burden was on the State to convince the jury, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Mr. Stewart's actions were self-directed, rather than committed in an unconscious state created by Ambien.  Automatism is a well documented side-effect of Ambien. See some info on it here.

Presumably, closings will be completed today and the jury will be charged and begin deliberating tomorrow. If the jury returns a verdict of guilty of 1st degree murder, a sentencing hearing will begin to determine if he should receive death or life without the possibility of parole.

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