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Archive for Thursday, November 6, 2008

Co-defendant in murder trial says woman beat 62-year-old with glass bottle

Closing arguments begin tomorrow morning in the Douglas County second-degree murder trial. Thursday, a co-defendant accused 37-year-old Shanna Friday of striking a 62-year-old man with a glass bottle.

November 6, 2008, 1:31 p.m. Updated November 6, 2008, 5:41 p.m.

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Jerod Buffalohead, a co-defendant in a second-degree murder trial, on Thursday morning said from the stand that he saw Shanna Friday striking a 62-year-old man with a glass bottle during a drunken argument.

The man, Jerry Lee Deshazer, later bled to death from a head wound he suffered late on Feb. 1 at his southeastern Lawrence mobile home.

The testimony that Friday struck Deshazer with the glass liquor bottle is contrary to her attorney's defense that prosecutors can't link Friday to the glass bottle believed to have caused Deshazer's major injury.

Buffalohead has already pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter in the case and has received a five-year prison sentence. He was at Deshazer's home that night when he said Friday and Deshazer had an argument.

Other witnesses have testified that Buffalohead had hit Deshazer, but Buffalohead said he only slapped Deshazer once while he was trying to break up a scuffle.

"I saw her hitting Jerry in the face and the head with a bottle," Buffalohead said in tears from the stand.

Instead Buffalohead said he put his hand in front of the bottle to stop it from hitting Deshazer again when the bottle shattered.

Buffalohead was the first witness that defense attorney Hatem Chahine called after prosecutors rested their case Thursday. Chahine also questioned Buffalohead and Detective Jack Cross about how many times Buffalohead changed his story about the incident during a police interview.

Jurors Thursday also heard testimony from Dr. Donald Pojman, the deputy coroner, on how Deshazer died from a massive loss of blood due to blunt-force trauma to his head that peeled back his scalp. Several other factors contributed to Deshazer's death, including the alcohol and medicine he had ingested and his existing medical conditions that included emphysema and heart disease.

After prosecutors rested their case Thursday morning, Chahine asked District Judge Robert Fairchild to dismiss the case because Chahine said prosecutors had no DNA evidence linking Friday to the glass bottle. But Fairchild declined and said jurors will have an instruction to find whether Friday criminally aided a felon in the case.

Chahine also rested his case Thursday afternoon, and Fairchild said closing arguments would begin this morning.

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