Jury continues deliberations in Capote trial
A decision had not been reached after about 4 hours Tuesday
February 10, 2010
Steamboat Springs — Jurors stopped deliberations at about 5:30 p.m. Tuesday and are set to continue this morning in the assault cases against David and Eduardo Capote.
The case went to the jurors just before 1 p.m. Tuesday after attorneys made closing arguments.
The jury of six men and six women have to decide whether the Capotes are guilty of assault in connection with a fight in downtown Steamboat Springs on the night of Jan. 1, 2009, that resulted in the death of Richard Lopez.
Both men have admitted they were involved in the fight, and Eduardo Capote said he was fighting with Lopez, but he said he didn't know if he landed any solid blows.
Defense attorney Charles Feldmann said it was a case of self-defense.
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Feldmann spent his hour-long closing argument focusing on the conduct of the police and the other group the Capotes fought with — Lopez and Timothy and Michael Wesley "Wes" Mottlau.
In the final day of closing arguments, after five days of testimony, Feldmann described Lopez and the Mottlaus as bullies who were "terrorizing" a family of tourists at a bar. Feldmann said the Capote group — with David, Eduardo, Eduardo's wife, Desiree Capote, and David Capote's girlfriend, Karen Rodriguez — already had "fled" the Mottlaus and Lopez once before, when they left the Tap House Sports Grill after a verbal argument.
The defense and prosecution measured out distances in the courtroom to demonstrate how far apart they said the two groups were before Eduardo Capote and Lopez got into the fight.
Deputy District Attorney Rusty Prindle urged jurors to use common sense in judging the case. He said that although there is no video of the incident — a cell phone video reportedly taken was not used as evidence and was described as unclear — jurors should take the "puzzle pieces" of the night and use them to draw reasonable conclusions.
Prindle said self-defense is not a reasonable argument because Eduardo Capote did not feel he had to defend himself when the two groups were 4 to 6 feet from each other, but he did decide to go about 24 feet out into the street after the Mottlaus and Lopez were leaving the scene.
"Ask yourself what's logical, what makes sense," Prindle told the jurors.
Eduardo Capote is charged with second-degree assault and third-degree assault. Second-degree assault is a felony punishable by a fine of $1,000 to $100,000 and two to six years in jail. David Capote is charged with third-degree assault, a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $500 to $5,000 and six to 18 months in jail.
Check back for updates once the jury reaches a verdict.