Jury deliberates in murder of man found in trunk

Posted: Updated:

The fate of a Middletown man charged with murdering a man and stuffing his body in a car trunk went to a jury Tuesday.

The defense and prosecution gave closing arguments at the Orange County Courthouse, each with very different explanations of the case. Prosecutors showed bloody sneakers they say were worn by defendant James Blagmon.

Blagmon is accused of kidnapping and murdering Franklin Fitts in September 2006 over drug money. Investigators said he then stuffed the body in a car trunk and left the vehicle on a Newburgh street.

Blagmon's lawyer countered that while the prosecution proved his client was a drug dealer, the evidence did not prove Blagmon was a murderer.

The defense also asked for a mistrial after witness Shaniqua Williams checked herself into a psychiatric hospital. Williams testified that Blagmon confessed to the crime to her. The judge denied the request but had her testimony stricken.

A verdict in the case is expected sometime Wednesday, May 23. A second man, James Harris, is also charged in Fitts' death, but will not be prosecuted until Blagmon's trial ends.

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