From Andy Furillo:
Closing arguments got under way today in the case of two men accused of murder in the beating death of a 90-year-old woman three years ago in North Sacramento.
Deputy District Attorney Kevin Greene said that the victim, Marie Oliver, had lived a good life, "and when you live a good life, your life shouldn't come to a brutal, tortuous end."
He characterized the defendants charged with her April 15, 2006, killing as "downright evil."
At one point in his closing argument for defendant Daniel Alan Russell, Greene took the woman's cane that he said the defendants used in their attack on her and demonstrated how they beat her with it.
"Whack, whack, whack," Greene said. "This is what they did, simply because they could."
Russell, 19, and his co-defendant, Calvin Eugene Pearson, 20, also are charged with burglary and robbery. The two counts also comprise special circumstance allegations against the defendants that could put them in jail for life with no chance of parole if they are convicted.
Greene ridiculed Russell's testimony that he admitted to police homicide investigators that he participated in the attack in order to protect an older brother.
"Please," Greene said. "The reason the defendant got on the stand and came up with that ridiculous story is because he's got nothing to lose."
Defense attorney Jo Ann Harris in turn argued that Russell's testimony was plausible and unrebutted by the prosecution.
She also implored the jury to accept Russell's testimony that his DNA was found inside gloves discovered at the murder scene because he had worn them during an aborted burglary attempt at Oliver's residence four days before she was killed.
She said the victim's blood was found on Russell's clothing because he had lent it to his brother before the attack on Oliver. Russell testified that his brother later returned the clothing to him.
Harris told the jury to discount the passion expressed by the prosecutor in his description of the victim and the injuries she suffered on the night she was killed.
"Every person in this room has a grandmother," Harris said. "I can understand the passion (Greene) feels. But any passion Mr. Greene projects to you is not a passion that the laws permits you to take on as your own."