Beating murder trial goes to jury

Posted: Thursday, April 10, 2003

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- The question of whether Joshua Wade murdered Della Brown then dumped her body in an Anchorage shed is now in the jury's hands after 10 weeks of testimony.

Wade, 23, is charged in a nine-count indictment in connection with the killing of Brown, 33, whose body was found by police on Sept. 2, 2000.

Lawyers on each side of the trial went one last round Wednesday before handing the case to the jury.

Prosecutors have said repeatedly that Wade admitted killing Brown because he did kill her. The defense said Wade had nothing to do with Brown's murder, that he became involved after he happened on her body and decided to play a trick on a bunch of street toughs by letting them believe for a while that he was a killer.

''Who really killed Della Brown?'' defense attorney Jim McComas asked jurors, then answered his own question, arguing in favor of three alternate suspects or, if not one of them, ''some man whose name is not yet known.''

Prosecutor Marcy McDannel listed the details about Brown's murder that Wade mentioned to people he was hanging around with, including two friends he would have no need to impress with a false confession, she said. And they would have no motive to lie and get him in trouble.

''How, how in the world could Wade have known all this information?'' McDannel asked, then answered her own question, turning and looking directly at the defendant. ''Wade is the killer,'' she said.

The final set of arguments took about four hours, then the jury went into deliberation.

With the jury gone, a crying Wade screamed at McDannel and her co-counsel, Assistant District Attorney Keri Brady, asking what was so funny.

The prosecutors had been laughing and joking at the prosecution table, as was their habit during recesses throughout the trial.

The judge and Wade's lawyers hastened to calm him down, and he didn't say anything else. However, on the way out, his hands manacled, he managed to throw his used tissues at the television cameras.

McDannel said later that she and Brady weren't talking about the case.

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