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BY DONNIE JOHNSTON
The jury in the Daniel Harmon-Wright murder trial will resume deliberations this morning at 9.
After getting the case
Harmon-Wright, a 33-year-old former Culpeper town policeman, is charged with murder, malicious shooting into an occupied vehicle, malicious shooting into an occupied vehicle resulting in a death and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony in the Feb. 9, 2012, shooting death of 54-year-old Patricia Ann Cook outside Epiphany School.
According to instructions given by Judge Susan Whitlock, the jury has four possible options. It can find Harmon-Wright guilty of first-degree murder, second-degree murder or voluntary manslaughter, or it can
If convicted, he could be sentenced to anywhere from one year to life in prison.
"It was excessive force; it was murder," special prosecutor Jim Fisher told the jury in closing arguments. "[Harmon-Wright] carefully took aim and shot this woman in the back."
Fisher spent 20 minutes going over what he called "a catalog of inconsistencies" between the ex-Culpeper officer's initial statement to a Virginia State Police investigator two hours after the shooting and his court testimony Friday. He reminded the jurors that both Anne Schuyler, Epiphany's office manager, and handyman Kris Buchele testified that they saw the shooting and that Harmon-Wright's hand was not trapped in Cook's Jeep window, as the defendant claims. He also pointed out that none of the witnesses recalled seeing any pedestrians on the street at the time of the shooting. Harmon-Wright testified that he shot Cook in order to protect the public, in particular a pedestrian that he saw out of the corner of his eye.
Defense attorney Daniel Hawes, however, told the jury that his client was only defending himself and the public.
"He did exactly what he was supposed to do, exactly what we pay him to do," Hawes said during his 40-minute closing argument, which he read verbatim. "[His actions] may have saved innocent lives."