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Posted: April 4, 2011 8:16 p.m.

Closing arguments today: Life or Death

Jury will decide if Lakemper gets death

Jurors will hear closing arguments in the penalty phase of the death penalty trial of convicted murderer Cobey Wade Lakemper tomorrow, and are expected to begin deliberating his fate before the end of day.

Lakemper was convicted of the 2005 murder of Wendy Cartledge-Carter late Thursday afternoon. The penalty phase of the trial began the next day, and jurors will now decide if Lakemper should spend the rest of his life in prison with the possibility of parole, life in prison without the possibility of parole or if he should receive the death penalty for his crimes.

Both the prosecution and the defense rested their cases just after 4 p.m., after jurors heard from another doctor, Alexander Morton, an expert in psychopharmacology - who testified that symptoms of drug use could mirror symptoms of antisocial personality disorder and could cause, and aggravate, symptoms of several mental illnesses.

Morton told jurors that Lakemper had a genetic predisposition to alcoholism and depression because of his parent's struggles with alcoholism (father) and depression (mother).

He also told jurors that at the time of Cartledge-Carter's shooting, Lakemper had reported drinking between two and three six-packs of beer, as well as liquor and using cocaine daily. The doctor said that Lakemper told him he had used large amounts of cocaine and alcohol the day before the crime and up to the morning of the crime, that he drank alcohol throughout the day and started back on cocaine after the shooting of Cartledge-Carter.

Morton felt that Lakemper could be effectively treated in prison by a variety of things, including treatments for addiction and psychiatric troubles that would be available to him there.

District Attorney Layla Zon asked Morton if every person who used alcohol and cocaine stole cars, broke into homes, robbed people at gunpoint and killed people and Morton agreed that not everyone with those addictions would do the same things Lakemper has been convicted of. He also concurred that certain people can be violent, independent of drugs and alcohol.

The defense called Lakemper to the stand once more Monday afternoon to explain some things the jury had heard in the penalty portion thus far, and to dispute some claims, including the one by ex-wife Rebecca that he held her hostage for days, abusing her. Lakemper's version of the story had her held for only a few hours, and according to him she started things by hitting him in the head with a clothes iron when she thought he reeked of perfume.

"I generally didn't start the problems with Rebecca but I reacted horribly to it when it was started," he said.

He also testified that he had asked his mother and sister to not come to court because he didn't want to stress them with the trial and potential questioning on the stand. He also said that he initially didn't want the claims of childhood abuse at the hands of his father to come in to play at the trial either, because the two had reconciled, but decided at the last minute to let the information come in because his father had not reacted as Lakemper thought he should over an issue with his oldest son.

Although Zon had an opportunity to question Lakemper once more, she choose not to. The trial will resume Tuesday morning when both sides with give closing arguments.

 

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