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Defense attorney Lynne Morgan addresses jurors during closing arguments on April 27, 2018, at the Marion County courthouse, in the trial of Denzel Hawthorne, who was accused of aggravated murder in the 2016 death of a Salem man.(Photo: JONATHAN BACH / Statesman Journal)Buy Photo
Leaning on extensive text-messaging records, Marion County prosecutors on Friday made a final push to persuade jurors a Detroit, Michigan man intentionally murdered the father of his drug dealer in Salem.
Intent is a key element in the two aggravated murder charges leveled against Denzel Hawthorne in the 2016 shooting death of Brett White, 44.
The defense, however, maintained Hawthorne didn’t have the mental capacity to intentionally kill White because he lives with an intellectual disability passed on to him by his family.
Jurors left Marion County Circuit Court on Friday without reaching a verdict and will resume deliberations Monday. If they find Hawthorne not guilty of aggravated murder, they can find him guilty of a lesser offense, murder.
In closing arguments Friday, Deputy District Attorney Kurt Miller walked jurors through prosecutors’ version of events related to the August 2016 robbery turned shooting.
Marion County Deputy District Attorney Kurt Miller addresses jurors on April 27, 2018, at the Marion County courthouse, during closing arguments in the trial of Denzel Hawthorne, who was accused of aggravated murder in the 2016 death of a Salem man. (Photo: JONATHAN BACH / Statesman Journal)
Hawthorne sent a series of threatening messages to William White and his pregnant girlfriend in response to William shorting him on a drug deal across state lines.
Hawthorne allegedly bought weed off William a