Jonathan Phelps, defense attorney for Anceo D. Stovall, in opening statements to the jury.
TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - "Bang, bang, pause, bang!" Prosecutor Chris Biggs began his closing statement in Anceo Stovall's murder trial, punctuating the alleged shooting sequence that killed 40-year-old Natalie Gibson with his fist.
There was "direct testimony of four people putting him [Stovall] at the scene to commit burglary and robbery," he told jurors, referring to the prosecution's four accomplice witnesses, who testified they were involved in the burglary gone wrong.
They are consistent on one key point, Anceo Stovall's presence at the scene, Biggs said. He added, "he's guilty just as if he pulled the trigger."
Anceo Stovall is charged with two alternative counts of felony first degree murder in the attempt of committing burglary and robbery at the home Natalie Gibson shared with her partner Lori Allison. He faces a total of 11 charges.
Gibson was killed and Allison, 41 years old at the time, was wounded when they were shot outside their home on SW Quinton in July of last year.
"The state is proving attempted burglary and robbery," Biggs, Assistant District Attorney with Shawnee County, told jurors.
If Anceo Stovall was there at the crime scene, and death resulted, "that's felony murder," Biggs said.
Defense attorney Jonathan Phelps took an hour to rebut Biggs' statement, by questioning the credibility of the prosecution's key witnesses.
"This is a case about a person who's driven by revenge," he told jurors, referring to co-defendant Bayate Covington. Phelps said the testimony Covington gave detectives changed multiple times.
He said witness Kevin Wilkins was a "simple fellow" who would tell detectives what they wanted to hear.
Other witnesses got a deal by collaborating with the State, he said.
"We don't have trustworthy evidence that puts more than two people [at the scene], bottom line," he said.
"The issue is not, 'Was there a grotesque crime?'" Phelps said, but rather, "can we rely on this evidence and just hope we've gotten close enough? We can't." he said.
He asked jurors to render a verdict of "not guilty.".
Three alternates have been randomly selected from the pool of 15 jurors, leaving eight women and four men to begin deliberations Wednesday afternoon.