Anchorage murder case goes to jury

Posted: Wednesday, April 02, 2003

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Testimony has ended in the Anchorage murder trial of Joshua Wade, who is charged with killing Della Brown.

Testimony ended Tuesday.

Starting Thursday morning, lawyers on both sides will try to organize the mountain of detail offered over the past 10 weeks into closing arguments.

Much of the defense focused on the absence of physical evidence linking Wade, 23, to the beating and possible rape of Brown, 33, whose body was found on Sept. 2, 2000, in an abandoned shed in the city's Spenard section.

Both sides acknowledge that Brown was raped although there is no conclusive physical proof that she was. However, the prosecution wants the jury to conclude she was raped only vaginally because one of the alternate suspects offered by the defense raped his victims anally. Under defense questioning, experts agreed they couldn't rule out anal rape.

There was a similar battle over a bloody partial fingerprint found at the crime scene. Testimony ended with the return of a state expert who had previously testified that Wade could not be eliminated as the source of the print. Under defense questioning, he agreed he also could not eliminate any other human being or primate on earth.

The state began its case in January with a single piece of evidence: a tape of Wade acknowledging the murder. To back up the tape, prosecutors presented five witnesses who testified Wade either told them he did it, including details allegedly known only by the killer, or showed them Brown's body, or both.

Most of these witnesses were part of a criminal gang. Some were convicted felons, and some got caught in discrepancies or outright lies.

The defense wants jurors to reject all of these witnesses as liars, but if not, they say Wade was showing off when he said he killed Brown.

The defense offered jurors alternate candidates in Brown's death, men whose records they say make them more likely killers.

Wade chose not to take the stand in his trial.



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