Murder Case now in the jury's hands

Mariposa Gazette || 29-Oct-2009

MARIPOSA - In her final attempt to convince the jury of Christopher McCurdy’s guilt, Deputy District Attorney Kim Fletcher used the defendant’s own words to help her cause. The case went to the jury late Tuesday afternoon.

McCurdy is accused of the Dec. 16, 2008, shooting death of Lonnie Ritter of Greeley Hill. He has said the act was in self-defense.

Fletcher indicated that his claim was a farce. To back that up, she played an audio recording of McCurdy talking to former co-defendant Kevin Hoke on Jan. 5.

“I’m gonna say it’s self-defense,” McCurdy said to Hoke. “Help me with that. Stay with that.”

Fletcher said McCurdy’s behavior fit the description of first degree murder, and that jury didn’t have to believe the claims of McCurdy or Hoke to make that determination.

She flashed pictures of the dead man and the blood spatters in his home to the jury. She held the murder weapon in her hand. “These all tell stories,” she said of the evidence. “They don’t lie.”

The prosecutor continued. “You have enough evidence to convict just on the physical evidence and Mr. McCurdy’s statements,” she said.

The argument likened Mc- Curdy’s behavior to a sort of meditation, albeit a deadly one. “He spoon fed to himself thoughts about killing,” Fletcher said referencing a video McCurdy made. “He fed himself murderous thoughts. He focused on killing.”

That video was a cornerstone of the prosecution’s case, as it showed McCurdy angrily rapping. She asked the jury who it thought McCurdy might be talking to in the video. “You,” she answer for them. “The audience is you. It’s the best evidence you can have.”

McCurdy was described as being in “a murderous mind” at the time of the crime. Fletcher noted the story changes he gave authorities throughout the investigation. She reminded them it was Mc- Curdy who used the word “murder” with investigators before he had even been told Ritter’s body had been found. “You lost track of the web you wove,” Fletcher said of Mc- Curdy’s alleged lies. “You get tangled in the web.”

The victim was only 115 pounds and disabled. He was dying of cancer. Fletcher said the man’s disabilities made the self-defense claim impossible.

McCurdy’s attorney, Jeffrey Tenenbaum, had called witnesses that testified they had seen the victim brandish guns in the past. McCurdy himself testified last week that he felt threatened and struggled with Ritter for the 9mm gun that he says went off accidentally, killing Ritter.

The jury must now decide the fate McCurdy.

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