Verdict may come today in Freeborn trial

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 4, 2002

A jury could reach a verdict today in the murder trial of Paul Gutierrez Jr.

Monday, March 04, 2002

A jury could reach a verdict today in the murder trial of Paul Gutierrez Jr., who is charged with two counts of first-degree murder, criminal sexual conduct and child abuse, and one count of second-degree murder in connection with 18-month-old Makaio Lynn Radke’s death last April.

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Thirty-five witnesses – 34 for the prosecutor and one for defense – testified last week.

Prosecutor William F. Klumpp Jr. tried to prove that Gutierrez was the only adult in the house with Makaio at the time of the boy’s death on April 20 or 21 last year. Medical examinations showed a presence of severe abuses on the body. A trace of sperm, possibly belonging to Gutierrez, was found on the baby’s sleeper.

Defense lawyer Michael A. York emphasized that the prosecution did not provide evidence to prove Gutierrez’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Deliberations by the 12 jurors were to start after closing arguments by the prosecutor and the defense starting at 8:15 a.m. today. Following instructions by Judge James Broberg, they will move into a jury room next to the courtroom to discuss the case.

The verdict has to be unanimous. A foreperson chosen by the jury will guide the discussion to reach the decision. If the jury finds Gutierrez guilty of the first-degree murder, he would face a maximum sentence of life in prison without parole.