The wanton murder trial of Harrison Yonts was handed over to the jury today at approximately 12:50 p.m. Closing arguments began this morning at 10:25, with Dennis Null of the defense arguing first. Similar themes that have been present throughout the defense's questioning were mentioned in the closing statement, and particular emphasis was again placed on the charge of tampering with evidence. For the first time the defense ventured an explanation for the glass shards found on Yonts's pants and toboggan, saying that the person who drove his car came into his room to return the keys, getting glass shards on his pants. Arguments were also made that had Yonts been driving his clothing would've been covered in a fine glass dust; it was not. Additionally, the defense said that had he been driving, his shirt and the bathroom where his shirt was left would've been littered with glass as the entryway had been. The defense continued its attack on the Murray Police Department and particularly lead detective Kendra Smith for failure to conduct a thorough investigation, even going as far as to suggest that jurors should make a note on their verdict forms indicating their desire to see an investigation continue on this case.
After more than an hour and a half of arguments from the defense, the court recessed briefly before the state began its closing arguments. Assistant Commonwealth Attorney Jim Harris told that jurors that he did not intend to interpret the information they had been presented throughout the trial, but that he was confident the facts would speak for themselves. He reminded the jury of key pieces of information regarding the events of Nov. 10, 2005 on the part of both Shaheen and Yonts, and refuted several arguments made by the defense, including the proposal that Shaheen had left her apartment after returning home from the lab - a point supported by the backpack she was wearing when she left the Hart College Computer lab that was found on the scene. The backpack was filled with study-related items. Harris implored the jury to return a guilty verdict. "If not now, when?" Harris said. "If not us, who?"
After the closing arguments ceased, two jurors were dismissed in accordance with an earlier decision to have two alternate jurors watch the proceedings. The jury is now in deliberation, and The Murray State News will be there for the announcement of a verdict. Check back with The News Blogs and thenews.org, and of course with our Friday edition.