A second day of jury deliberations passed Thursday without a verdict in the murder trial of James Moon Jr.
Jurors discussed James Moon Jr.'s case for five hours Wednesday and nine hours Thursday. After advising presiding Judge David Ten Eyck they had failed to reach a verdict -- and being informed that they must reach a unanimous verdict as outlined in the jury instructions -- the jury of five men and seven women recessed until 9 a.m. today.
Jurors have to decide if James Moon Jr., 36, is guilty or not guilty of premeditated first-degree murder, second-degree murder or first-degree manslaughter for the Feb. 16, 2002, shooting death of his brother, Billie Joe Moon, 35, in a wooded area along Crow Wing County Road 144.
There was no argument among attorneys in the case that James Moon Jr. held the .44-caliber revolver to Billie Joe Moon's left temple and that the gun went off. The argument between prosecuting and defense attorneys -- and what jurors have to decide -- is if the shooting was premeditated and intentional or an accident.
In his defense of his client, James Moon Jr.'s attorney, Charles Halverson, said James Moon Jr. didn't intentionally murder Billie Moon. He said James Moon Jr. feared Billie Joe Moon and was trying to scare him. Halverson asked the jury to return a guilty verdict on the charge of first-degree manslaughter.
Kristine DeMay, Crow Wing County assistant attorney, said the murder was premeditated. She said James Moon Jr. brought the gun, loaded it and cocked the hammer when he put the gun to his brother's head. She said the shooting wasn't done in self-defense because James Moon Jr. was holding Billie Joe Moon on the ground.
MATT ERICKSON can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5857.
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