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Syracuse, N.Y. — We’re looking ahead to the closing arguments in the second murder trial of Robert Neulander.
The defense rested their case Tuesday, without calling Jenna Neulander to the stand. She’s the only other person who was in the Neulander’s DeWitt mansion the day her mother Leslie Neulander died.
So, what can we expect as the jury prepares to try and come to a unified decision on whether this was a homicide or a tragic accident?
The jury is done hearing direct cases from the defense and prosecution. Onondaga County District Attorney Bill Fitzpatrick hopes he’s done enough to prove Leslie Neulander was killed by her husband.
They presented a new piece of evidence, which was not part of Neulander’s first murder trial in 2015. A piece of what they say is Leslie Neulander’s head on the couple’s bedroom headboard.
Fitzpatrick also played the 9-1-1 call from Jenna Neulander, who was begging her father to stop moving her mother. But the defense, led by Jonathan Bach, was armed with family members and experts, including Leslie’s sister Joanne London. The family continues to argue this was a slip and fall in the shower.
What could be the reason for not calling Jenna Neulander to the stand? Peter Pullano, Managing Partner at Tully Rinckey LLC says the defense has the benefit of knowing how the first trial testimony went with her.
“If we know that this is where the witness is going, do we bother calling? Or do we comment on the fact that the prosecution didn’t call them? I think in this case it’s where the defense is heading with it,” explained Pullano.
We asked, “what’s the crux of what can be done in a closing argument?” Pullano answered, “closing arguments are to be limited to the facts of the case and it is the attorney’s opportunity to tell the jury what they believe the evidence means.”
Pullano says whatever both sides say during closing arguments is not evidence.
After that’s over, the jury will have a pile of expert and personal testimony to consider, which includes graphic photos of blood in the couple’s bedroom, and expert debate over whether the new evidence found on the headboard is a piece of Leslie Neulander’s head.
Court will begin Wednesday morning at 9:00 a.m. CNY Central will be there to bring you updates as they happen.