Jury begins deliberations in Cash’s attempted-murder trial
January 18, 2012
Steamboat Springs — It's now up to the jury to decide the fate of Robert Cash, the man on trial for attempting to murder his wife in Steamboat Springs.
After four days of testimony from experts, police officers, victim Rhonda Heaton and Cash, the prosecution and defense delivered their closing arguments Wednesday afternoon.
The prosecution maintained the position that Cash thought about killing his wife and then attempted to do it with a revolver.
The prosecution is relying heavily on the testimony from Heaton, who told the story about how her husband shot her while she was in bed June 11, 2010. Heaton said Cash refused to call for help and offered an explanation for shooting her.
"Some of the most compelling information that we've had in this case has been Mr. Cash's own words," Routt County Chief Deputy District Attorney Rusty Prindle said.
According to Heaton's testimony Friday, she asked Cash why he shot her, and he responded, "Cause I want you to die so you can't destroy anyone's life like mine."
Cash testified Tuesday that shooting his then-wife was an accident.
Routt County Public Defender Sherly Uhlmann told the jury that prosecutors failed to prove their case.
"Reasonable doubt is rife in this case," Uhlmann said. "You only need one (instance of reasonable doubt), and when you get to one, you stop. That is what the law says."
The most serious charge Cash is on trial for is first-degree attempted murder, but the jury was given the option of considering lesser charges. The jury can consider attempted second-degree murder, attempted manslaughter and reckless endangerment, which is the least serious offense. A person commits reckless endangerment if they recklessly engage in conduct that creates a risk of serious bodily injury to another person.
"Maybe that's fair," Uhlmann said. "The rest of it, no."
"This is a man who knew exactly what he was doing," District Attorney Elizabeth Oldham said. "He had been rejected by his wife, he was going to kill her and he tried to."
Closing arguments ended at about 5 p.m. Wednesday, and jurors were given their final instructions before starting deliberations, during which they will discuss the testimony and have the chance to handle the evidence.
"In case the deliberations get heated, we're going to let you have the gun and the ammo but not at the same time," Judge Shelley Hill said. "You may take the case."
They jury met for about 10 minutes before being excused for the night. Deliberations will resume Thursday morning.
To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247 or email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com