Monday, May 14th, prosecutor Matt Murphy began his day long closing argument to the jury. The presentation was methodical, organized and, most important of all, based on facts. Matt began by describing to the jury the various classes of homicide. This was done to show the jury how each of Urdiales’ five murders are in the highest category, premeditated with special circumstances, thus qualifying Urdiales for the death penalty.
Next, Matt reviewed the five murders individually, explaining the premeditation and special circumstances of each. Unfortunately this part was gruesome. Urdiales said that the last thing he remembers about Robbin’s murder was her eyes staring at him while he was repeatedly stabbing her in the chest area. A crime scene photo of Robbin’s face appeared on screen, her lifeless eyes open and staring. It was unexpected, a real jolt, startling and deeply sad for Jayeson, his son Jay and I to see. That photo is burned in my memory forever. Matt also showed Robbin’s hands, they were cut, she fought back aggressively. The miserable coward Urdiales attacked Robbin from behind, stabbing her repeatedly in her back then turning her over to stab her chest repeatedly. 41 stab wounds in total. He left her to die alone on the parking lot by her car on a cold, wet January night. Bastard!
After establishing that Urdiales is a serial killer, Matt then aggressively reviewed the defense experts on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders – FASD – all hired by the defense. Matt reviewed their defense testimony and his cross examination one at a time. He once again called out the basis of their rationale that concluded that Urdiales suffered FASD. Matt challenged their examinations, investigative procedures and conclusions, all based on incomplete and sloppy work. Matt never speculated, hypothesized or misstated what the experts said, he used their own words and actions and repeatedly pointed out their blatant omissions to rebut them and question their lack of professional standard on the Urdiales case.. Matt’s criticisms are based on the experts’ written opinions of Urdiales’ FASD symptoms, their writings in books and journals and, most important, Matt used their own trial testimony. Matt reminded the jury of all the FASD key symptoms identified by medical texts and journals: the experts produced very little evidence key symptoms in Urdiales’ life. Matt controlled himself but in the end he did opine that the defense was hoodwinked by their stable of overpaid experts, they did not get what they paid for…proof that Urdiales actually has FASD or that FASD causes sufferers to murder.
Tuesday, May 15, the lead defense, Denise Gregg, began her closing argument, lasting about four hours. Her co-counsel, Ken Morrison, took about another 1 1/2 hours on Tuesday then continued for another day on Wednesday. Denise never once mentioned the murders or victims, the defense is not contesting Urdiales’ guilt. The defense is putting all bets down on making FASD the cause of murder, therefore, Urdiales is, what?, “innocent?”…is Urdiales and the unfortunate young women all co-equal victims of FASD?? Come On, Urdiales is a victim too?… a brain damaged psychological mess who deserves help, not punishment: a few months or a year in the looney bin until another psychologist declares him cured; out he goes, back on the street?!! Her argument rehashed all the siblings and experts’ testimony: God, the jury must have been going out of their gourds. Denise was protecting the defense expert witnesses, trying to rebut Matt’s closing arguments. Throughout the trial and in her closing argument, Denise never indicated or explained, nor did her witnesses, if or why FASD causes a sufferer to viciously murder let alone become a serial killer…she has not tied the defense into a bow. Do all FASD sufferers lose their moral code, their humanity?, or could something else be causing Urdiales’ sadistic serial killings: you know, something like “he is just down and out EVIL.”
Wednesday May 16th as mentioned above, Ken continued his closing argument all day. Ken is the junk yard dog of the defense team. To my mind, he makes outrageous statements, stupid analogies, strange logic, talks down to the jury, and most of all, he does not know what he is talking about. I know, I know, I am harsh on Ken. In the real world he is probably a nice guy and family man, but in court he is a jerk.
Basically, Ken said that the murders do no qualify for the death sentence there are no special circumstances. Hey Jury, forget all the murder facts you heard and Urdiales’ own confessions to the murders. Ken’s whole boring argument leads up to 2nd degree for each murder and 2nd does not quality for the death sentence. Ken demanded the jury return five 2nd degree verdicts.Ken in a nutshell: If FASD made Urdiales a serial killer then Urdiales could not control himself, he was goofy during the murders…no premeditation, no planning to murder, on and on. Bingo, 2nd Degree. I heard every excuse from the defense, but I did not heard Urdiales ever say “I’m sorry.” No contrition.
Ken showed confusing graphs and charts, used nonsensical reasoning, histrionics, junior league drama, word games overheads and he continually repeated himself as if the jury was to stupid to get it the first, second, third time. The judge finally had to ask Ken if he was just about done, to hurry it up. Ken even attacked Matt’s closing arguments — oh, oh, dumb move there.
Thursday May 17 Matt now has the floor for the prosecution’s rebuttal to the defense closing arguments. Matt has had enough, now I see a glint of anger. Matt spent Thursday morning rebutting Ken – his arguments, his logic, his facts and criticisms of Matt. Rather than go over all this again, simply, Matt cleaned his clock. Fun to watch.
Denise and Ken’s monologues made me reflect (daydream) on mostly good things: pizza, Mexican food, Italian pasta, maybe winning the lottery, sorting and folding my laundry at the laundromat, shooting the breeze with the Circle K guy and snoozing off (I think I lost the snoozing battle but just for a few seconds, each time.)
A person seating in the gallery told me it was a shame that Robbin didn’t use her cell phone when she sensed danger. Really? I explained quietly, didn’t yell, might have sighed, that cell phones were not in use in 1986, probably not even invented yet. “Oh” she said, a complete sentence.
FINALLY – the case has gone to the jury. Deliberations begin Monday May 21st.