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Update: The Denny Beating Trial

A look at key developments Wednesday:

A prosecutor speculated that a question from the jury means that the panel has settled the question of the defendants’ identity. Jurors asked Superior Court Judge John W. Ouderkirk whether any evidence is limited to a specific charge, or if all evidence can be considered for each charge. Ouderkirk answered that all evidence can be considered on all charges unless the evidence is limited to a specific purpose or a single defendant. He also ordered that jury instruction again be read to the panel, pointing out that each count is a distinct crime and must be decided separately. Deputy Dist. Atty. Janet Moore said the question could mean that the jury has resolved the identity issue, adding: “Otherwise, why go into the charges?” Attorney Edi M.O. Faal, who represents defendant Damian Monroe Williams, declined to speculate on the significance of the jury’s question.

In two counts of assault with a deadly weapon against Williams, 20, and Henry Keith Watson, 29, vehicles were damaged but their occupants were uninjured. A second question sent to Ouderkirk late Wednesday may be related to those alleged assaults. The panel wanted a definition of the phrase “the person of another.” Is “person” confined to one’s body, jurors asked, or does “person of another” include a vehicle if a person is inside and driving? That question is to be answered today.

The jury will have Sunday off but will deliberate Saturday and Monday, if necessary, said Superior Court spokeswoman Jerrianne Hayslett. The Criminal Courts Building will be closed over the weekend unless there is a need for an open court session. If a verdict is reached Friday, it will be announced Saturday. But Ouderkirk said he has not decided how he will handle announcement of a verdict if the panel reaches a decision Saturday.

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