Abdullah Deliberations Begin Monday

April 17, 2008 8:10:15 PM PDT
A jury will begin deliberation on Monday the fate of accused killer Ramadan Abdullah. Both sides agreed during Thursday's closing arguments, Abdullah is guilty of shooting and killing Fresno County Deputy Erik Telen. But the disagreement is should the crime be first degree or second degree murder. If convicted of first degree murder then Abdullah could face the death penalty. Prosecutor Dennis Peterson showed jurors the shotgun used to kill Deputy Telen. With the weapon in hand, Peterson said, "This is was a well timed, it was a well executed, loading, aiming and firing of a lethal load of double-ought buckshot."

The defense argued Abdullah suffered from schizophrenia on August 21, 2001 when he shot and killed the Deputy. But Peterson tried convincing jurors Abdullah carefully planned the murder and should be convicted of first degree murder. Peterson said Abdullah's own surrender was proof the defendant comprehended his actions. Peterson said, "Not only did Mr. Abdullah initiated his own surrender in this case, he carefully followed all their instructions including raising his hands high."

Defense Attorney Pete Jones fought back and said, "Mr. Abdullah is mentally ill now. He was mentally ill before August 21, 2001. He was mentally ill on August 21, 2001." Jones is asking for a second degree murder conviction. Jones said his client didn't have the mental ability to carefully plan the murder. He also said delusions clouded Abdullah's mind and led to the killing. Jones pointed to testimony from the defendant's own father Mahdi Abdullah who testified earlier in the trial saying his son suffered delusions more than a month before the shooting. Jones said, "When he arrives, he found his son in a field. And he personally hears son tell him that he is Jesus the Son of Mary. And he hears him repeat that claim."

A second degree murder conviction would spare Abdullah from the death penalty. After jurors reach a verdict then a second phase will begin. The same jury will then decide if Abdullah was sane or insane at the time of the crime. The decision could lead to one of three things: Abdullah could be committed to a mental institution, sentenced to prison or put to death.


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