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Update on Trial of Alex King and Derek King

Aired September 5, 2002 - 11:54   ET

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


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: We are going to get a quick update now, out of Pensacola, Florida, at the trial of Alex King and his 14- year-old brother, Derek. It is a murder trial, first degree murder, and arson, is what they are charged with, accused of killing their father.
Now to Mark Potter, who is standing by in Pensacola -- Mark.

MARK POTTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Anderson. This one is moving along very quickly. Both sides have rested. And we're going to have the closing argument after lunch. The jury has been dismissed. It is being dismissed right now. The judge is talking to them. The jurors are being told that they will come back after lunch, and they will hear the closing arguments from the prosecution and the defense. The prosecution put on one rebuttal witness a short time ago and then rested.

The attorney for Alex King, the youngest brother arrested earlier this morning, and the case of Derek came to a close with an interesting development. Outside of the presence of the jury after they were excused, the lawyers put Derek himself on the witness stand to explain unlike his brother, who testified before the jury yesterday he was not going to testify, and that he understood that that was his right.

Let's listen to that. It occurred just a few mince ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DEREK KING: Yes, sir, it was my decision.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You understand in a lot of criminal cases when the defendants don't testify and they happen to get convicted or something later on down the line, they claim their lawyers...

KING: I heard that, yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sometimes they claim that they didn't know you could be a witness.

KING: Yes, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You understand you can be a witness?

KING: Yes, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And you are choosing not to be a witness? KING: Yes, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And you think you understand that through discussing it with your attorneys?

KING: Yes, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right, thank you very much, Mr. King.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Derek will not be testifying, unlike his brother yesterday. The few witnesses who did testify today, include the boy's grandmother, their uncle, and arson investigator, a jail supervisor, and an arson investigator who undercut somewhat the boy's original confession that they had killed their father with an aluminum baseball bat and set the house on fire. The arson investigators say that no evidence of a baseball bat was ever found.

Now indeed the boys did confess back in November when they were arrested, but later recanted that confession, and say now instead that the person that killed the father was a family friend, 40-year-old Ricky Chavis, and the boy said he convinced them to confess before, arguing that it would bring them altogether if they did that, that they would not be harmed, or punished severely because of their young age.

Authorities say that Ricky Chavis was having an emotional and sexual relationship with the youngest of the boys, Alex. He, in an unusual move, found himself indicted by a grand jury on the very same charges that the boys face, the charge of murdering their father with a blunt instrument. He faced a separate trial that occurred last week. There was a verdict. We do not know what the verdict was, because it was sealed, so they did not have an impact on this trial.

So when we get the verdict here, we will get the verdict on the other case. If anyone is convicted, they can face an automatic life in prison term.

Back to you.

COOPER: All right, mark Potter, thank you very much, in Pensacola.

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