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Jury Hears Closing Argument in Slaying

TIMES STAFF WRITER

In his final hours, Anthony Guest was tortured.

He was shot.

Finally, he was dumped in the bushes at a lonely campground near the Ventura County-Los Angeles County line, doused with gasoline and burned alive.

“It is difficult to believe one human being would do this to another human being,” Deputy Dist. Atty. Robert Calvert told a jury Monday, arguing that 28-year-old Spencer Brasure of Hawthorne tortured and killed Guest.

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“But it did happen,” Calvert said in closing arguments at Brasure’s trial. “And it is supported by physical evidence.”

Brasure is accused of killing Guest after hours of torture that allegedly included shocking the Redondo Beach man with a makeshift electrical device.

Although most of the alleged crimes occurred in Los Angeles County, local authorities handled the investigation because Guest, 20, was killed in Ventura County.

Two maintenance workers found Guest’s charred remains beneath a juniper bush at the Hungry Valley State Vehicular Recreation Area in September 1996.

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Brasure faces charges of first-degree murder, torture, kidnapping and related offenses.

If convicted, Brasure could face the death penalty.

In court Monday, Brasure looked defiantly at jurors as they listened to Calvert recount in detail the torture Guest suffered.

Guest’s mother sobbed silently, wincing as Calvert described gruesome scenes again for the jurors.

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The acts Brasure is accused of committing against Guest were so horrific that Brasure’s friends testified during the three-week trial that they thought he was crazy.

Calvert said one friend testified that he looked into the room in the house where the torture is alleged to have taken place and saw the victim tied to a chair. He was wearing a “mask on his face . . . a scary mask that was wolf-like.”

“He admitted he was scared,” Calvert said, recalling the friend’s testimony. The witness told Calvert he went home, went to bed and said a prayer for the victim.

Another witness, Sandra Johnson, testified during the trial that when she went into the house, she heard a “buzzing, cracking or snapping sound.” Then, she said, she smelled burnt flesh.

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“He has her kneel down,” Calvert said, “and look into Guest’s eyes. They are filled with tears--afraid and pleading. She heard him revving something up. Then she saw a jerking.”

Physical evidence presented at the trial showed that Guest was shocked repeatedly and was forced to eat glass, and that pieces of wood had been stapled to his ears.

Brasure is also accused of soliciting the slayings of witnesses in the murder case through a series of letters to friends, some of which were written in a code of symbols and letters.

The case will resume today in Ventura County Superior Court.

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