Jury deliberations ongoing in Lexington murder trial
LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - After nearly eight years of waiting, the cases against Marquess Smith and Marique Sturgis are set to reach their conclusion in court.
Jurors are still deliberating after the circuit court judge’s office says the jury got the case around noon.
This all stems from a deadly robbery attempt in January of 2016, in which the prosecution says Sturgis Smith and three others coordinated an attack on 18-year-old Caleb Hallett and his friend.
The two were parked in a car on University Avenue when investigators said two masked men shot at them.
The trial began last week, as the Herald-Leader reported Commonwealth’s Attorney Kimberly Baird used cell phone evidence and ballistics casings to prove that Smith shot and killed Hallett while Sturgis shot the other victim, who survived.
Two of the other suspects, Christopher Allen and Ricky Auxier, also testified as part of their plea deals. However, the defense attorneys in this case say Allen and Auxier can’t be trusted, calling them “documented liars” who orchestrated their story to police.
The Herald-Leader says attorney Daniel Whitley went on to say the prosecutors’ evidence was “shaky” and “unreliable.”
Baird admitted the two suspects were liars but said the evidence brought truth to light, as it showed both Sturgis and Smith were involved in the planning of the robbery and that they were both at the scene on that night in early January.
This case has taken multiple twists and turns, as prosecutors initially sought the death penalty back in 2017. Then, a mistrial was declared in May of 2022 when the court couldn’t find enough jurors.
But a year and a half later, they have their jury, and the decision is now down to them, so we may finally be reaching the end of this long legal road.
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