SAN JOSE — Testimony concluded Monday in the first phase of Yosemite killer Cary Stayner’s triple-murder trial, setting the stage for closing arguments and jury deliberations.
Defense lawyers and prosecutors presented 55 witnesses over five weeks of evidence, including three weeks dominated by testimony about Stayner’s brain.
Defense lawyers presented a final witness Monday in the battle over whether Stayner’s brain was abnormal, concluding many days of testimony from psychologists and psychiatrists who performed a battery of tests on the confessed killer.
Stayner has pleaded innocent by reason of insanity to the February 1999 killings of three Yosemite National Park tourists who were staying at the rustic lodge where he worked as a handyman outside the park.
Numerous defense witnesses testified that he had a deformed brain and had defective brain activity similar to a schizophrenic.
A prosecution rebuttal witness, Dr. Alan Waxman, testified last week that Stayner’s brain was normal.
Frank Balch Wood, a neurology professor at Wake Forest University, said Monday that Waxman’s conclusions were fraught with errors.
Jurors in Santa Clara Superior Court are expected to hear closing arguments Tuesday afternoon and will likely begin deliberations Wednesday in the guilt phase of the trial.
Stayner, 41, faces the death penalty if convicted of murdering Carole Sund, 42, her daughter, Juli, 15, of Eureka, and their Argentine friend Silvina Pelosso, 16.
If Stayner is convicted of first-degree murder that could trigger the death penalty.