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Closing Arguments Under Way in Brazill Trial

Aired May 14, 2001 - 11:09   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: And now to another high profile case. Closing arguments are under way in the trial of a Florida teenager accused of gunning down his teacher on the last day of classes last year. For the latest on the Nathaniel Brazill murder trial, let's check in with our Mark Potter in West Palm Beach. Mark -- hello again.

MARK POTTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hello again. The closing arguments have been under way for about two hours now. The prosecutor spoke first. He spoke for about hour and 15 minutes. He will come back later this afternoon at the end of the defense argument.

Now, right now in the courtroom, Robert Udell, the defense attorney is making his claim that while Nathaniel Brazill shot and killed his teacher Barry Grunow a year ago, he did so accidentally. He is also asking the jury to take into account when this occurred, Nathaniel was only 13 years old. Let's listen in for a moment to some of arguments being made here in the Palm Beach County Courthouse, Robert Udell.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

ROBERT UDELL, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: On the other hand, if after carefully considering, comparing, and weighing all the evidence there is not an abiding conviction of guilt, or if having a conviction it is one which is not stable but one which waivers and vacillates, then the charge is not proved beyond every reasonable doubt and you must find Nathaniel not guilty because the doubt is reasonable.

It is to the evidence introduced in this trial, and to it alone, that you are...

POTTER: Now, earlier prosecutor Marc Shiner -- that's Robert Udell, the defense attorney, going over some of possible charges here. Earlier, the prosecutor in the case Marc Shiner argued that this was not an accident and that Nathaniel should be convicted of first-degree murder, despite his young age.

He said that Nathaniel lied during his testimony. And he also pointed out that when Nathaniel was before the jury, he was unable to show the jurors exactly how the handgun could have gone off accidentally as he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MARC SHINER, PROSECUTOR: "Nate, show us how the gun went off unintentionally." And he braces hand and goes like this, "I can't." "Was your hand shaking?" "Well, yeah." "How was it shaking?" "Like this." Did you see his hand shake? Did you? Did you see Nate Brazill's hand shake in the court? Did you see him explain to you?

He had 11 months to think how he could have done this by accident. Did he have one iota, one explanation whatsoever how this went off accidentally? Could he show us? Here is your chance. Make it go off accidentally. Can't do it. Doesn't work.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

POTTER: Now, the prosecutor also emphasized that after shooting his teacher, a man he described as a favorite teacher, Nathaniel Brazill did absolutely nothing to help him as he lay dying on the floor. Now, after all the arguments have been heard and the jury gets its instructions on the law from the judge, the deliberations will begin. That will probably be sometime late this afternoon. If the jury decides to find him guilty, there are indeed a number of options, first-degree murder, second-degree murder, third-degree murder, manslaughter, and assault and battery with a firearm.

We do not know when the jury will come back. That's up to them. The judge has said, however, that he does not expect this jury to deliberate late into the night. So this possibly could go until tomorrow. Back to you.

KAGAN: Mark Potter in West Palm Beach, thank you.

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