Both Sides Present Closing Arguments In Shannon Murder Trial
Posted August 29, 2005 9:26 a.m. EDT
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — Prosecutors and defense attorneys presented their closing arguments Monday in the trial of a woman accused of plotting to kill her Army husband.
Joan Shannon is charged with first-degree murder in the 2002 death of Maj. David Shannon. Prosecutors say she persuaded her 15-year-old daughter at the time, Elizabeth Shannon, to shoot him.
Defense attorney Paul Herzog addressed the jury for more than an hour Monday morning and focused on the credibility of the prosecution's four witnesses, which included Elizabeth Shannon, who pleaded guilty to second-degree murder last year and agreed to testify against her mother.
Herzog argued that Elizabeth Shannon, who is serving a maximum of 31 years in prison, acted alone and that she was a drug user who was involved with gangs and had a history of violence.
Herzog, who earlier in the trial said his client is the victim of a lying daughter, also asked jurors to remember when Elizabeth Shannon took the witness stand. He told jurors to ask themselves, "Did you see a child crying, upset, sorry for what she had done, or did you see this hardened adult who did not even bat an eye?"
The prosecution argued that Joan Shannon wanted her husband dead so she could collect insurance money and run away to be with her boyfriend.
They said in the days leading up to her husband's death, Joan Shannon was "constantly barraging" Elizabeth Shannon, "telling her, harassing her to kill her father."
Toward the end of the day, prosecutors also said Joan Shannon was "the worst mother you could ever imagine."
If convicted, Joan Shannon could be sentenced to life in prison. The judge plans to instruct jurors Tuesday before they begin deliberations.