Verdict expected Thursday in triple murder trial

By Kimberly Holmes – bio | email

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19)  - The Hamilton County jury deciding the fate of a man accused of killing three people in cold blood left the courthouse Wednesday night without a verdict.

Closing arguments in the trial of Mark Pickens wrapped up on Wednesday afternoon. The jury began deliberating around 2:30 p.m., and after nearly six hours of talking, jurors decided to head back to their hotel for the night.

Earlier in the day, Pickens bit his lip as he told the judge he won't testify in his defense.

During closing arguments, prosecutors reiterated that they believed the 20-year old killed three people: his ex girlfriend Noelle Washington, 19, her son Anthony Jones III, nine months old, and a little girl Sha'Railyn Wright, 3, who Washington was babysitting. Prosecutors said Pickens shot them all in the head and killed them because he did not want to go to jail for another crime: rape.

"When detectives told him Noelle Washington was dead," said prosecutor Seth Tieger. "There was no reaction. He already knew. He had done it."

Prosecutors also said Washington was killed one day after she told police that Pickens raped her.

"{The murder} doesn't point to some random burglar," said assistant prosecutor Katie Burroughs. "It doesn't point to the father of Anthony Jones. It doesn't point to some murderer freed in the neighborhood. It points to one person: Mark."

But defense attorney Perry Ancona urged jurors to stick to the facts.

Ancona said he agreed with the "what:" murder, but tried to push reasonable doubt on the "who."

"You're going to prove they were murdered by somebody," Ancona said. "Nobody disputes that, but they were not murdered by Mark Pickens. When you get done deliberating, talk to each other. You're going to conclude they did not prove their case."

Deliberations will pick up on Thursday morning around 8:30. The jury was given instructions on Wednesday that if Pickens is found guilty, the death penalty portion of the trial will begin next.

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