Jeston Murray found guilty of double murder

Jeston Murray
Jeston Murray

Louisville, KY - By Katie Bauer email | bio

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – After nearly two weeks of testimony and eight hours of deliberation, a Jefferson County jury has found a deaf man guilty of two murders.

The jury returned their verdicts in the case of Jeston Murray around 10:45 p.m. Monday night. They found him guilty of murder, robbery, burglary and tampering with physical evidence.

Around 2:30 p.m. on Monday, the prosecution and defense concluded their closing arguments.

"This is a unique case, this is a compelling case," said Murray's defense attorney Dave Mejia.

During closing arguments, Mejia read to the jury what Murray told police. "I didn't know he planned to do that stupid thing, kill. I followed him, I followed him, I saw everything that happened," said Mejia.

Police say the weekend after Christmas 2008, Murray and Michael Knights killed 72-year-old Darrell Spencer at the Army Surplus store on West Main Street with an ax, they stole from the store.

"I wasn't expecting that to happen,"said Mejia as he told jurors what Murray told police. "He asked me to help him steal, not rob, not hurt, not murder, not harm, he asked me to help him steal."

Prosecutor Tom Van De Rostyne strongly disagrees. He says there's no dispute that both men discussed the murder before they entered the store.

"One of them did it, that's what we keep hearing," said Van De Rostyne. "We don't know which person killed him, they could have both dealt blows to him."

During the nine day trial, Knights took the stand. He told jurors, he alone killed Spencer and then a week later, Marcus Penny, at a Manslick Road apartment. He changed his testimony the next day, saying that Murray was the one who did the killing.

"What we do know is that he was killed because of a plan and a robbery that he was in on, that he was in on," said Van De Rostyne.

"All that has been presented to you, overwhelmingly has proven to you that Michael Knights has did this and did this alone," Mejia told jurors.

Knights, who pleaded guilty to both murders, testified both for and against Murray. Knights is serving life with the possibility of parole for 25 years.

Murray's trial will move on to the sentencing phase on Tuesday. He could receive the death penalty.

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