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Tue, Sept. 24

Attorney: No link between client, crime
Closing arguments in Carlton murder trial expected Tuesday

KINGMAN ­ Deputy County Attorney Lee Jantzen has presented all his witnesses and experts to the jury in the trial of Raymond Carlton, and there is only one possible witness from the defense left to testify when the trial resumes on Tuesday.

Carlton, 23, of Kingman is charged with first-degree murder for the death of 19-year-old Christina Buus. He is accused of killing Buus with a handgun on July 18, 2005, while he drove Buus' Jeep southbound to Kingman along U.S. 93.

Jantzen and the defense attorney, Rick Williams, are to present their closing statements on Tuesday before a 12-member jury is sent to closed chambers to determine the final verdict.

Jantzen has called several experts from state crime labs to testify about their findings from the investigation and analysis of the crime scene, the suspected weapons and the autopsy of the victim's body. Lee also shown a couple of pictures and video evidence to the jury during the trial on Thursday and Friday.

Williams has been quiet and only questioned experts briefly during their testimony, and accepted all the evidence the state presented to the court.

But Williams insisted that the evidence could only prove his client's presence at the crime scene and the time of the crime, but nothing so far had proved Carlton was the one who committed the crime.

"I think the trial is going well to the extent that we have maintained all along that the state could not prove first-degree pre-meditated murder. The only evidence indicating pre-meditation comes from the mouth of Veronica Bravo," Williams said after Friday's session.

Williams claimed in his opening statement that Bravo agreed to testify in the case only in order to get a less severe punishment for her role in the case. He suggested Bravo's testimony was not trustworthy.

Superior Court Judge Steven Conn drafted more than a dozen evidence instructions to the jury by the end of Friday's session, directing them how to use the information they received from the court proceeding. Among them, one specific instruction seemed to directly address Williams' point.

The instruction read that the guilt of the defendant could not be established by his mere presence at the crime scene or mere association with another person at the crime scene, even if the defendant has the knowledge that the crime was being committed there. The fact that the defendant may have been present does not make him guilty of the charge.

Williams said this instruction would be beneficial to his client, but refused to comment to what extent the instruction could affect the final verdict.

"We are optimistic in the sense that it's always been our position that this is not a first-degree murder case. We still believe that." Williams said.

Jantzen declined to comment on the trial on Friday.

Carlton would either face life in prison or life in prison with guaranteed 25 years jail time if convicted.

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