Jury deliberations began Monday night in the trial of two men accused in the murder of a Marine Cpl. Jonathan Price and the wounding of his wife, Megan.
Dawan Mulazim and Quincinio Canada are charged in the June 21, 2014, shootings in a parking lot of the Austin City Saloon in Lexington as well as the robbery six days earlier at a Quality Inn in which the alleged murder weapon was stolen.
If convicted, the two men face the possibility of the death penalty.
The case went to the jury at 7:30 p.m. Monday after defense and prosecution attorneys made closing arguments.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Lexington Herald-Leader
The prosecution says their evidence points to Mulazim and Canada as the men who stole a .45-caliber handgun from guests at the motel and then used that gun to shoot the Prices. Jonathan Price was shot in the back; Megan Price was shot in the left leg.
The defense contends that police accused Mulazim and Canada to the exclusion of other possible suspects, such as Antonio Frye, the man who eventually came into possession of the stolen handgun and then sold it to a confidential informant for the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Kimberly Baird said the prosecution had "proven beyond a reasonable doubt" that Canada and Mulazim are guilty. Baird argued there was no rush to judgment and that the Lexington police gathered as much evidence as they could to put together the case against the defendants.
She noted that Mulazim's sister identified him in a surveillance video from a liquor store 13 minutes before the Price shootings happened in a neighboring parking lot.
The shell casing found in the Austin City Saloon parking lot came from the same Springfield Armory .45-caliber handgun that was reported stolen from the motel. The robbery victims picked Canada and Mulazim as the men who stole the gun.
But Chris Tracy, public defender for Canada, called the police investigation a "rush job," and said police discounted evidence that "didn't fit the narrative" of their case against the defendants.
And Kim Green, public defender for Mulazim, said the prosecution asked the jury to disregard DNA evidence taken from beneath Jonathan Price's fingernails that excluded Canada and Mulazim as suspects.
The defense also noted that the gun stolen from the motel was found in the possession of Antonio Frye, who sold it to a confidential informant for the ATF. Frye refused to talk to police investigating the murder.
And the defense said that alibi witness Joy Birch testified she was with Mulazim on the night of the Price shootings and another alibi witness, Deonne Green, saw Mulazim and Birch at a strip club.
"All in all this is what reasonable doubt looks like," Tracy told the jurors.