A Columbus man charged with fatally shooting the mother of his two children and another man will have to wait until Monday afternoon to learn his fate. James Brock, 24, is charged in the October 2009 shooting deaths of Tyesha McNair and Terence Clark. He faces life in prison if convicted.
Superior Court Judge Bobby Peters this evening said he will take the weekend to consider multiple exhibits and the testimony of nearly two dozen witnesses who took the stand over the past five days.
"A man’s life is at stake," Peters said. "There are a lot of conflicts in the evidence."
Peters said he will announce his verdict at 2:30 p.m. Monday.
Peters' remarks came after both sides delivered impassioned closing arguments that lasted about 90 minutes.
Assistant District Attorney LaRae Moore called Brock "a cold-blooded murderer" who killed McNair to prevent her from moving home to Kansas with their two children.
"This is a case about control and cowardice," she said. "The only way he could control Tyesha McNair from taking his kids and going to Kansas was to kill her."
Brock's attorney, Shevon Sutcliffe Thomas, sought to point out a number of inconsistencies in the state's witnesses, saying many of their accounts did not add up.
Earlier today, Thomas took issue with part of a police interview in which Brock invoked his Fifth Amendment right to end the interrogation. He moved for a mistrial in the case, arguing that Peters -- the arbiter of Brock's fate in the bench trial -- should not have heard the snippet of the tape in which Brock says, "I'm done talking." He said prosecutors should have stopped the tape before that portion of the interview to avoid any inference that Brock ended the interview because he had something to hide.
Peters said Thomas had stipulated to the interview being entered into evidence.
"You can't say, 'Let's hear it,' and then jump up and say mistrial because you don't like something in it," Peters said.
Thomas' motion for mistrial came after Peters watched a video tape of a lengthy police interview in which Brock denied any involvement in the slayings. In the interview, Brock was grilled about his whereabouts on the day of the shootings. He broke down and began to weep when one of the detectives told him that McNair had been among the victims.
The detectives seemed skeptical of Brock's demeanor throughout the interview. They asked him several times whether he was curious as to why he was being interrogated.
The interview became heated at times as detectives accused Brock of lying to cover his tracks.
"I'm telling the truth. I'm not lying," Brock said.
Detectives said it seemed suspicious that Brock washed his car shortly after the shootings. But Brock said he washed the car once a week.