La Plata, MD – The jury has been out for a night and a day deciding the fate of James Macauthur Spears, 36 of Waldorf, accused of stabbing his wife’s ex-husband in the back Dec. 11, 2013.
During closing arguments Wednesday, Oct. 21, Charles County Assistant State’s Attorney Paul Halliday made an impassioned presentation to jury members sitting before Charles County Circuit Court Judge H. James West.
Halliday went point by point against assertions made by Charles County Assistant Public Defender Michele Harewood, detailing the events of that night, going charge by charge.
“Your conclusion has to be that the defendant is guilty of all charges,” he said.
Taking the lesser charges first, he explained carrying a dangerous weapon with intent to injure. “He ran out into the street carrying a knife,” Halliday stated. “We know he intended to harm a person. Reckless endangerment? You know the answer. First and second-degree assault? He stabbed the man four times. You heard the victim. His knee has locked up several times. He suffers back pain. He had to be put on light duty at his job for six months. Plunging a knife into someone is using deadly force. He threatened to kill him. You heard the victim say he heard Mr. Spears say, ‘I’m going to kill you.’ ”
The fact that the defendant threw the knife into a storm drain when police arrived “implies guilt,” he said.
“These are pretty horrific, serious charges,” Harewood countered. “It is my hope that you will make a decision that is fair and impartial.”
Harewood said a man’s home is his castle. She said when the victim—Spear’s wife’s ex-husband—arrived at Mr. Spear’s home at 10 p.m. Dec. 11, he had no idea his wife had slept with her ex-husband two days before, that the two had been communicating over the phone and through text massages, prior to his arrival in Charles County from Washington, DC.
The defense attorney harped on the text messages between the two, saying the victim claimed he left DC to come to his ex-wife’s house at 5 o’clock.
“He could have walked from Washington to Charles County in the time it took him to get down here,” she said.
Harewood pointed out that the woman repeatedly told the victim not to come.
“He testified on the witness stand that he told police he was invited, that ‘Carolyn told me to come,’ no, she didn’t,” Harewood stressed. “Not in these text messages that went on for an hour and a half.”
Harewood said that her client was only defending himself against a man who had abused his wife when they were married and was known to use PCP.
“When the police came, Mr. Spears was running down the street pointing at the victim’s car, saying, ‘there he is! Go get him!’ But he is arrested instead,” she said.
“This man had confronted Mr. Spears twice before this incident. One time he made him jump off a balcony to get away from him. He was absolutely defending his wife, his home and his castle.
“When the state says follow the evidence, look where you’re going,” Harewood continued. “This sounds more like a home invasion. When you hear Mr. Spears in the back of the police cruiser saying a lot of people would have killed him [the victim]. He’s a violent man. This man wanted to protect his home.”
“I’m asking you to find him not guilty of each and every offense,” she concluded.
The jury has been deliberating since 4:30 p.m. Oct. 21.
Since West is not in court Oct. 22, Judge Helen I. Harrington is expected to take the verdict.
Contact Joseph Norris at firstname.lastname@example.org