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10-16-02: Anderson case goes to the jury
The Daily Standard
    DEFIANCE - The decision of whether to send Kimberly Anderson to prison or to acquit her of the murder of her husband is headed to the jury.
    After three hours of closing arguments this morning by Auglaize County Prosecuting Attorney Ed Pierce and defense attorney Alan Konop of Toledo, jurors were given instructions and were to begin deliberating Kimberly Anderson's fate early this afternoon.
    Pierce made it clear to the jury that Kimberly Anderson, not Brent Anderson, is the one on trial. He asked jurors to be careful how they consider the sexual abuse allegations that were raised against Brent Anderson during trial testimony.
    "In the search for the truth ... consider this: Brent Anderson never got a chance to express his rights," Pierce said, although Kimberly Anderson was given every option of her rights.
    Kimberly Anderson acted as judge, jury and executioner in taking Brent Anderson's life, Pierce said.
    Konop started the closing argument by thanking jurors for their patience.
    "We are not here, none of us in this courtroom, to celebrate the death of Brent Anderson. It's been a loss for everyone," Konop told jurors.
    Konop reminded jurors of previous testimony from witnesses who described Kimberly Anderson as crying and upset the day of the shooting.
    "Is she an actress or is this only a woman who was threatened and had
nothing else to do? If shešs going to make up a story, she's going to say he kicked her around ... that would be her story," Konop said.
   The defense attorney downplayed the forensic evidence in the case and
suggested a lack of a thorough law enforcement investigation.
   Jurors, who have sat through about 30 hours of testimony in six days, are to take as long as necessary to decide if Anderson, 38, is guilty or not
guilty of aggravated murder, murder and voluntary manslaughter in the multiple shooting death of her estranged husband, Celina attorney Brent Anderson, 37.
    She claims she shot her husband in self-defense as he came after her during an argument in her rural Wapakoneta home, Sept. 2, 2001.
    The Defiance County Common Pleas courtroom, where the trial was moved due to pretrial publicity, was filled to its 38-seat capacity this morning as family and friends of both Kimberly and Brent Anderson arrived early to hear closing arguments. Reserved seating was set aside for family members of both the defendant and the victim, as well as a small section for media representatives. All others participated in a "random lottery system" for the few seats that remained.
    After Konop concluded the defense's case at 2 p.m. Tuesday, Pierce promptly announced that he, too, rested his case and would not call any rebuttal witnesses to the stand.
    A short time later, the jury was dismissed and Konop again asked the court for an acquittal on all three indictment counts against Kimberly Anderson - an action he also sought and was denied last week after three
days of testimony by the prosecution.
    A motion for acquittal by a defense attorney is a fairly standard action taken during a trial, following the conclusion of testimony for both sides.
    Auglaize County Judge Frederick Pepple immediately denied acquittal for murder and voluntary manslaughter, then took a two-hour deliberation before denying the motion for acquittal of aggravated murder, the most serious charge Kimberly Anderson faces.
    "After consideration of the evidence and testimony, I find that a reasonable jury could conclude that it would tend to show planning and conscientious choices (were exhibited), including the loading of the gun with the extra clip," Pepple explained.
    The semi-automatic handgun used by Kimberly Anderson to kill Brent
Anderson was loaded to its maximum capacity of 11 bullets.
    Pepple also said prior calculation was shown when Kimberly Anderson stated she chose to go upstairs to find a telephone and grabbed the loaded gun instead. He also noted that a working telephone was available in the downstairs study not far from where the argument began, according to earlier testimony.
    Before ruling on the acquittal in its entirety, Pepple asked both Pierce and Konop to again prove or disprove prior calculation by Kimberly Anderson.
    Pierce cited the loaded gun and noted that a doctor and respected friend of Kimberly Anderson's told her not to confront her husband, but she ignored the warning. Pierce said the downward angle and position of the gunshot wounds to Brent Anderson, as well as Kimberly Andersonšs choices the day of the shooting, showed her intention.
    "When the defendant went to the nightstand to retrieve the phone, she retrieved the gun instead," Pierce said. "She had a choice to pick up the phone or the gun. It's at that point she made a choice ... her choice was the gun."
    In support of the acquittal motion for aggravated murder, Konop said none of Kimberly Anderson's actions constituted a mental plan or studied consideration. The shooting incident took place in a short period of time under "rapid fire" and was not planned, he added.
    Tuesday morning, forensic pathologist, L.J. Dragovich of Michigan, told jurors under direct questioning by Konop that there was no way of knowing in which sequence the wounds were made on Brent Anderson. He also said, in his opinion, the injuries were sustained quickly, in rapid fire, "virtually as fast as one could squeeze the trigger."
    Ted Manasian, a forensic scientist with the Ohio BCI&I, testified Tuesday about a pubic hair found in the diaper of Brent and Kimberly Anderson's son, Ryan, then 1. The diaper was reportedly worn by Ryan the day of the shooting when Brent Anderson returned his son to Kimberly Anderson the day of the shooting.
    The defense claims the hair, which matched DNA of Brent Anderson, supports Kimberly Anderson's suspicions that her husband was molesting the couple's two young boys. Under cross-examination by Pierce, Manasian stated the hair easily could have been placed in the diaper through a type of transference such as shared use of a bath towel by father and son.
    Bridget Foster, also a forensic scientist with Ohio BCI&I, testified for the defense about a semen stain found in a full-size sheet lying across a crib in Brent Anderson's home. The sheet was retrieved from the home 24 days after the shooting and the stain matched that of DNA taken from Brent Anderson, Foster testified.
    Under cross-examination by Fox, Foster said semen stains could remain detectable for DNA study for a long time - BCI&I tests have shown as long as 22 years - even after washing.
    Meghan Clement, a DNA expert in body fluids from Laboratory Corporation of America of North Carolina, disputed Foster's claim and said semen stains would no longer be suitable for DNA testing after washing.
    During cross-examination, Clement explained to Pierce that the lab used mitochondria testing on the pubic hair found in the diaper. Brent Anderson's siblings, she said, would all have the same mitochondria sequencing in their DNA as Brent Anderson, because that particular DNA is maternally-related, meaning passed on by a female to her children.
    Clement also admitted during testimony that there was another DNA match of the pubic hair in the 4,839 individuals that made up the test database, and the match was not that of Brent Anderson.


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