First Degree Murder Charges Dismissed Against Cantrell Ellis

December 2, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
A major victory for an accused murderer. A judge has dropped the most serious charge against Cantrell Ellis. Ellis is on trial for stabbing and killing his wife Charlotte in May 2008. Prosecutor Mike Frye asked the jury to peer inside the mind of Cantrell Ellis. During Wednesday's closing arguments, Frye reminded jurors how Charlotte died. Frye said, "Until finally, she is subdued and there's one, two, three, four, five- those five stab wounds end up killing her."

Cantrell took the witness stand on Monday- saying he caught his wife in bed with another man and lost control of his emotions. The man is accused of stabbing Charlotte to death. The defense asked Judge Robert Oliver to throw out first degree murder saying Charlotte's killing was not- premeditated. Judge Oliver agreed and dropped the most serious charge.

Now the jury has three choices when considering Charlotte's death, guilty of second degree murder, voluntary manslaughter or not guilty. With Cantrell admitting the killing happened- the jury will likely find him guilty of some crimes. But the judge's decision means, the man's future prison time is significantly reduced.

Cantrell's defense attorney will present his closing argument Thursday morning. The jury should begin deliberating in the afternoon.