The closing arguments started Thursday morning. It lasted more than three hours without the jury getting a break. Prosecutors said their case is built on solid circumstantial evidence while defense attorneys portayed their client as a victim of circumstance.
Assisant DA Victoria Winkeler began closing arguments by pointing out the strorngest parts of their circumstantial evidence against Meechaiel Criner.. "There is nothing else that this evidence indicates other than this was an intentional murder," said Winkeler.
Winkeler focused in on glasses found at the crime scene, near the spot where the body of UT freshman Haruka Weiser was found on April 3, 2016. The glasses were compared to a pair Criner wore in a selfie and pair reflecting in the light from security video of the murder suspect.
"Facts, these are facts ... This is what is reasonable not what is possible. That evidence shows you what is reasonable, his story is not reasonable," said Winkeler.
Defense Attorney Ariel Payan disputed the evidence against his client, starting with the eye glasses he told the jury there are substantial discrepancies in the prescription made for Criner and the glasses that were found. Payan urged the jury to take a hard look at Criner's laptop-tablet.
He reminded them how the activity log from the computer shows that it was being rebooted several times the night the murder took place.
The logs do not show activity at the exact time of the murder.
But Payan believes it provides an alibi. "Some one has to push the button, that someone was that boy over there, if he is pushing the button who is killing the girl," said Payan.
In response to that claim, lead prosecutor Guellermo Gonzalez suggested that the computer was actiivated while it was being jostled around in Criner's backpack as he rode his bike.
He also noted something is missing in the logs. "If any of this were true, that he was using that computer... Where's the data? Where is one thing he can show you that this person was doing while he was operating the computer," asked Gonzalez who answered his own questions by saying, "There is no evidence of that."
Gonzalez shifted the focus of the jury to Criner's backpack.
He showed a picture of it in a dkr storage room where Criner admitted he stayed in while on campus before the murder and then compared it to the security video of the backpack being worn by the murder suspect. Gonzalez argued they are the same.
He also told the jury that the bandana being worn by the suspect in the video is the same bandana Criner is wearing in the selfie picture that was found on the laptop.
Criner gave a long hard glare after the lead prosecutor called him a sadist.
The jury was given the case after being showed a picture of the UT freshman Criner is accused of killing and one last request from Gonzalez. "You remember her, thats why we are here."
The jury started deliberations around 2:30. They have five options to consider; acquittal. Or convicting him on charges that include, robbery, aggravated sexual assault, kidnapping and murder.
The death penalty is off the table because Criner was 17 at the time of his arrest.
The jury is set to reconvene at 8 a.m. on Friday, July 20 to make a decision.