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Defense Rests in Polly Klaas Murder Trial

Court: Attorneys for Richard Allen Davis call four witnesses and end their case after only one day.

May 30, 1996| From Associated Press

SAN JOSE — The whirlwind defense of the man accused of killing Polly Klaas ended Wednesday as his attorneys rested their case one day after they began it.

"When you leave today, you will have heard all of the evidence you're going to hear in this trial," Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Thomas Hastings told jurors before releasing them.

Defense attorneys conceded at the outset of the trial that defendant Richard Allen Davis killed Polly, 12, but they denied that the crime was sexually motivated.

Davis, 41, is charged with kidnapping the girl from her bedroom at knifepoint as she held a slumber party with two friends.

In addition to murder and kidnapping, he faces a number of other charges, including attempting to commit a lewd act on a minor.

If convicted, he could face the death penalty. That decision would be made by the same jury in a second phase of the trial.

The defense called no witnesses Wednesday, instead spending an hour on procedural matters. The defense had been expected to call Davis' sister, Darlene Schwarm, but she did not testify.

Closing arguments were scheduled to begin June 10. In the meantime, a one-week recess is planned and lawyers will work on the instructions to be given to the jury.

Testimony began April 16. In all, 66 prosecution witnesses were called. The defense called four witnesses.

Prosecutors rested May 21 and the defense began its case Tuesday, painting Davis as a man cast adrift after his parole from prison, three months before the murder.

The defense approach appeared to be aimed not so much at the guilt phase of the trial as at the penalty phase.

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