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Shelton Mason County Journal
Shelton, Washington
Mason County Journal
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November 6, 2014     Shelton Mason County Journal
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November 6, 2014
 

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Thursday, Nov. 6, 2014 -Mason County Journal- Page A-7 Defense, prosecution give closing statements By NATALIE JOHNSON natalie@masoncoun com After two weeks of testimony, members of a jury started deliberating Tuesday in an aggravat- ed murder trial related to a 2012 double-homi- cide. Charles S. Longshore, 24, is on trial for two counts of first-degree ag- gravated murder in the May 28, 2012, shooting deaths of Ani- trea Taber, 37, and Tyler Drake, 19, at a home at 213 W. Harvard Ave. in Shelton. He pleaded not guilty to murder charges in 2012. Longshore has been charged with aggravat- ed murder because more than one person was killed in the shooting and because the state argues that his motive in the shooting was to eliminate witnesses that could identify him. If convicted, Long- shore faces life in prison. Alleged accomplice Robert Raphael testified last week that he saw Longshore shoot both Taber and Drake. Testimony concluded in the case Oct. 27. Mason County Pros- ecutor Mike Dorcy and Longshore's attorney, Brett Purtzer of Ta- coma, gave their clos- ing statements Tuesday morning. Dorcy asked the jury to sort out the truth from the lies in Longshore's hours of statements to police presented during the trial as well as his testimony Oct. 27. "The truth slips out in the midst of the lies," Dorcy said. Dorcy's closing state- ment focused mainly on the credibility of wit- nesses presented in the case. He urged jurors to weigh the value of state- ments presented along with physical evidence. However, Purtzer fo- cused primarily on the concept of reasonable doubt, saying too much doubt existed to convict his client. "We have evidence, and we have lack of evi- dence, which is unex- plainable," Purtzer said. Purtzer noted that Raphael's clothes were Longshore never collected or ana- lyzed as evidence after he was arrested and said many people were near the scene of the crime who did not testify in the case. "(Raphael) is the one orchestrating this ruse," Purtzer said. Purtzer said investigators didn't spend enough time in- vestigating Ra- phael's involve- ment in the case after witnesses told detectives Longshore was the shooter. Dorcy reviewed the state's evidence provid- ed to the jury during the trial. He reminded jurors of evidence and testimony saying that Raphael gave Longshore a gun to sell, and Longshore offered to help Raphael collect a debt to make money. Witnesses, includ- ing Raphael, testified that Longshore shot Taber and Drake after attempting to collect a debt Taber owed Ra- phael. Longshore first told detectives he wasn't at the house, then said he was and finally told de- tectives he witnessed the shooting but did not participate. Longshore has admit- ted many of his state- ments to police were un- true. "The stories may change ... but the evi- dence and the circum- stances do not change," Dorcy said. Longshore fled to Oregon after an initial contact with officers at the scene of the shoot- ing. Law-enforcement officers initiated a man- hunt that lasted until Longshore's arrest June 1, 2012. Purtzer raised sev- eral concerns in between his and Dorcy's closing arguments Tuesday. First, he told Judge Amber Finlay that one juror had been seen talk- ing with a member of one of the victim's fami- lies at a lunch break the previous week. He said the juror put her hand on the person's back and said something to her. Purtzer told Finlay a member of Longshore's family saw the interac- tion. Finlay called the ju- LOST SHIH-TZU Named "Lucky" last seen at Littlecreek Casino parking lot. Special needs dog. He needs his Mommy! Very timid. Please call Dee at Hearing Screening Than 25 Years ror out of the jury room, and Purtzer briefly questioned her as to the nature of the contact. The juror told the court she casually asked someone, while outside the courthouse, where she could get lunch near the courthouse in down- town Shelton but was not aware the woman was a member of a vic- tim's family. She said the woman was not a witness in the case and did not realize she wasn't allowed con- tact with any member of the public in the gal- lery. Finlay allowed the woman to remain on the jury, saying incidental contact between jurors and other parties some- times happens in a small courthouse. Purtzer asked Fin- lay to declare a mistrial later in the day after his co-counsel, Lance Hester, said he noticed demonstrative behavior from Dorcy and deputy prosecutor Jason Rich- ards. "I'm dumbstruck about what counsel is referring to," Dorcy said. "I want to argue it's not grounds for a mistrial, but I can't conceive it happened." Finlay said she didn't see anything and asked the defense attorneys to elaborate. Hester said Dorcy made a sound as a re- action to something Purtzer said during his closing arguments. He described it as sound- ing like a "harrumph" or "pfft," saying it was dif- ficult to characterize. Hester said Richards also made a derisive re- mark in response to one of Purtzer's statements. Hester told Finlay the actions would be preju- dicial to the jury. "The court did not hear what Mr. Hester is saying he heard," Finlay said. Finlay said the com- plaint did not constitute grounds for a mistrial. Longshore took the stand in his own defense Oct. 27. Dorcy's cross-exam- ination took several hours, while Purtzer's initial questioning of his client was about 10 min- utes long. Longshore testified that he did not kill Taber or Drake. Longshore and his attorneys have main- tained that Raphael killed Taber and Drake. Several witnesses have testified that Taber owed Raphael money. Raphael testified that Longshore offered to help him collect that debt, or tax, as he called it. "I was never asked to go in and be this guy's taxer," Longshore said. "I don't even know who these people are." Raphael was also charged with first- degree murder in the shooting. While on the stand, Longshore told the court he lied in some of his statements to police in 2012 but said an inter- view June 4, 2012, was the most accurate. "But there are still in- consistencies," he said. Dorcy asked Long- shore why he lied during interviews. "Because I didn't want to be a snitch," Longshore said. Longshore also said he didn't tell police the truth because he was afraid of Raphael. He also admitted to changing his story to "test" detectives. Raphael testified for the prosecution earlier in the trial. 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