Page awaits jury decision

After only one day of testimony, a jury is deliberating the fate of an Erie man charged with murder.  Raychel Venditti joined us earlier today, live from the courthouse.  

The day started with closing arguments by the defense, arguing that Merle Page is not guilty of first-degree murder, but still guilty of murder.  Page is charged with killing Marcel Flemings outside of the Shell Gas Station on East 6th and Parade streets almost one year ago, on the morning of January 15th, 2017.

Defense Attorney Eric Hackwelder says this is not a case of whodunnit.  There is surveillance video from the Shell Station clearly showing a fight between the two parties involved and when Merle Page shot at Flemings, five times according to evidence, you can see Flemings fall to the ground.

What the defense is asking the jury is to find Page guilty of third-degree murder rather than first, as charged by the prosecution.  In his closings, Hackwelder said for first-degree there has to be premeditation.  It has to be thought out and not impulsive.  

The prosecution, on the other hand, says that Page made the conscious intent to kill when he went to the car, pulled out a gun and fired at Flemings, fatally wounding him. 

The defense also tried to point out that Page had been heavily drinking all day and that he was not able to format a specific intent.  The prosecution played the surveillance video again for jurors, pointing out his capabilities to walk, talk and make decisions.

The jury is not expected to deliberate for long.  They will have one decision to make... guilty of third or first-degree murder.  We will have a follow-up tonight starting at five.


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