Closing arguments expected in Patel murder trial

December 16, 2009 4:35:50 AM PST
It was announced Tuesday that Harish Patel would not take the stand in the murder trial of his estranged wife, Vanlata Patel's death nearly two years ago. The defense also said it would not present any evidence.

But before both sides rested their case, there was some dramatic testimony heard.

The jury spent most of the morning watching dash-cam video of the highway in Virginia where Vanlata Patel's partially burned body was found.

They also watched a critical piece of prosecution evidence -- the surveillance video from a Circle K where Harish Patel bought gasoline and a gas can.

Then, one of the lead investigators testified about what Harish said after he was arrested.

He apparently asked the detective to retrieve a specific shirt from Patel's home.

"I asked Mr. Patel if the shirt contained any items that would hurt myself, or anyone else," Cary Police Department Det. Jim Young said. "He stated, 'No, before I hurt anyone else, I would kill myself.'"

As the day ended, the judge and lawyers determined they would not inform the jury about reduced charges like second degree murder or manslaughter.

The defense also conceded the case was heard properly in North Carolina.

So, jurors will have just one decision to make when they get the case Wednesday afternoon -- guilty or not guilty of first degree murder.

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