Prosecutor urges jury to reject insanity defense in killings

AP News
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Posted: Aug 18, 2015 8:12 PM

PHOENIX (AP) — A prosecutor urged jurors to reject an Arizona man's insanity defense on charges that he killed his brother four years ago over a drug dispute and fatally shot his 6-year-old nephew who had witnessed the crime.

Prosecutor Laura Reckart said Tuesday that Christopher Rey Licon hasn't proven that he suffered from a mental disease that would have prevented him from understanding that his actions in the December 2010 killings were wrong.

"The defense has failed to meet its burden in proving insanity," Reckart said during closing arguments at Licon's trial.

Defense attorneys, who contend Licon had a psychotic episode around the time of the killings, are scheduled to address jurors on Wednesday.

Licon is charged with fatally shooting his half brother, Angel Jaquez, at the Phoenix townhome they shared. Authorities say Licon then kidnapped and killed Jaquez's son, Xavier Jaquez, in an alleyway 20 miles away out of fear that the child would snitch on him.

They say the boy, whose body was found by sanitation workers, either saw or heard his father get killed. "Xavier was going to bring down the defendant," Reckart said.

Investigators have said Licon, 24, dragged away the boy after Licon carried out the first killing and forced the 6-year-old into the car that would bring him to the alley.

Licon, who sports a shaved head and wore a coat and tie, looked squarely at the prosecutor throughout closing arguments.

Jurors were shown disturbing crime-scene photos of the child's body in the alley. The boy, still wearing his school uniform, was shown on his back surrounded by a pool of blood. His Burger King kid's meal, which was missing its toy, was nearby. The jury also saw photos of the boy's father as he lay dead on a sofa in his home.

Licon, then a construction management student at Arizona State University, told investigators that he was studying at a library in Tempe at the time that his half brother was killed. He said he came home to find his brother's body in the townhome.

But authorities say Licon's alibi collapsed quickly after neighbors were interviewed and other evidence was gathered.

Authorities say two key pieces of evidence were found inside the car Licon used to bring the boy to the alley: a 9 mm bullet casing that matched a casing found at Jaquez's home and a toy from the Burger King kid's meal.

Prosecutors say Licon was in an illegal drug business with his half brother and had acknowledged selling drugs in the months before both deaths.