The fate of a former Culpeper town police officer accused of murder now rests in the hands of a jury. Closing arguments in Daniel Harmon-Wright's trial wrapped up Monday.
Harmon-Wright is accused of fatally shooting 54-year-old Patricia Ann Cook on Feb. 9, 2012. Police said Harmon-Wright was responding to a report of a suspicious vehicle in a church parking lot when he shot Cook, who was unarmed.
Harmon-Wright is charged with murder, malicious shooting, shooting at an occupied car resulting in death and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony.
On Friday, Harmon-Wright took the stand and testified he shot the woman after she trapped his arm in the window of her vehicle and dragged him.
In closing arguments Monday, Special Prosecutor Jim Fisher took direct aim at Daniel Harmon-Wright's credibility. Fisher listed 10 inconsistencies from the former police officer's statement in his taped interrogation and what he said on the stand Friday.
Harmon-Wright's defense against the inconsistencies was that he was distraught during the interrogation, which took place only two hours after the shooting.
Fisher said that was an excuse and that it is clear from the video that Harmon-Wright was not distraught. The special prosecutor said Harmon-Wright's self-defense claim is unfounded. Fisher ended by saying, "It was unnecessary. It was excessive. It was murder."
Defense Attorney Daniel Hawes read a prepared statement to the jury. He told the jury the case boils down to whether Harmon-Wright acted lawfully. Hawes said his client took all the proper measures during the shooting.
The defense told the jury Patricia Cook was a fleeing felon because she was trespassing on the catholic school parking lot, injured an officer and posed a threat to the community. Hawes also posted to previous testimony from eyewitnesses who said the officer gave Cook a number of verbal warnings to stop her car.
The case went to the jury at 2:20 p.m., but has recessed until 9 a.m. Tuesday, when four men and eight women will deliberate Harmon-Wright's fate.