Double slaying case now in hands of jury

Double slaying case now in hands of jury
Johan Gillette in court Tuesday, March 4, 2014.

EUGENE, Ore. - The fate of Johan Gillette, accused in the double slaying of his father and his father's girlfriend, is now in the hands of jurors.

Tuesday afternoon the court heard closing arguments from both sides in the murders of James Gillette and his partner Anne McLucas.

Johan Gillette has not denied killing them but said he acted in self-defense when his father reached for a gun. He acted with violence after a lifetime of physical and emotional abuse at the hands of his father, as described by friends and family.

If convicted, Johan Gillette could face the death penalty.

Prosecutor Stephen Morgan began closing argument by telling jurors to focus on forensic evidence, which he said doesn't support the defense's case.

Johan Gillette testified he was defending himself against his armed father. But the state said photographs show much more than simply self-defense, including multiple blows sustained by each victim.

"Thirteen of those fractured bones, and most of them fractured bone a lot," Morgan told the jury. "You can use all the technical terms you want, but he put holes in their heads."

The prosecutor called testimony portraying James Gillette as "violent" manipulative. He said Johan described his dad much differently during an interview with investigators.

"He's slowed down in the last few years, refers to his dad as 'old yeller' as for he yells, he throws things' but he's not physical," Morgan said.

Defense attorney Dan Koening said Johan Gillette lied to police at first because he was scared and taught to mistrust authorities.

But Koening said his actions on the day of the slayings could only be understood in that moment.

"This is a powerful handgun," Koening said. "How many blows do you think it would take to defend yourself if someone had this pistol and was trying to shoot you with it?"

Koening told jurors to consider the defendant's lack of intent on the morning of September 7, 2012.

"There is no intent here," he said. "Johan did not get up that morning intending to kill anyone."