Lawyers for three men on trial in the 2009 double slaying at the Piazza at Schmidts complex ended their cases Monday without calling witnesses, and the judge said the jury would get the case Wednesday.
Two of the defense lawyers made their final arguments to the Common Pleas Court jury of seven women and five men. On Tuesday, the third defense lawyer and a prosecutor will make their closings.
Judge Jeffrey P. Minehart said he would instruct jurors on the law Wednesday morning.
None of the three on trial - Will "Pooh" Hook, 43, also known as Keith Epps, the alleged mastermind of the robbery-gone-wrong, and alleged gunmen Edward Daniels, 44, and Antonio Wright, 30 - testified in his own defense.
All are charged with felony murder - killing during another serious crime - and face mandatory life terms without chance of parole if the jury finds them guilty.
They were among eight people arrested in the June 27, 2009, shootings of Rian Thal, 34, and friend Timothy Gilmore, 40, in the then-new Piazza complex in Northern Liberties.
Four of the eight pleaded guilty before jury selection began Nov. 7; a final defendant, arrested a year after the shootings, will be tried later.
Prosecutors say the gunmen confronted Thal, a party planner, and Gilmore, an Ohio-based long-distance trucker, who were both also dealing drugs.
Gilmore tried to flee and the gunmen opened fire, killing him and Thal in the hallway outside her seventh-floor apartment in the Navona building.
The gunmen fled without taking what they had come for: more than $100,000 in cash and 81/2 pounds of cocaine police later found in Thal's apartment.
Gilmore's death was videotaped by a Piazza security camera near the elevators on the seventh floor. But Thal's was not, and how she died - and whether she was an active conspirator in Hook's alleged drug-robbery scheme, as some prosecution witnesses said - remained at issue.
In his closing, Thomas L. McGill Jr., Wright's attorney, urged jury members to stick to their oath not to hold it against Wright that he did not testify or present witnesses.
The judge will instruct the jury that under the Constitution, a criminal defendant has an absolute right not to testify or present evidence.
McGill maintained that the video images were too fuzzy to positively identify Wright as one of the gunmen. Nor, he added, was there DNA or fingerprint evidence linking Wright to the murder scene.
As for Wright's confession to the shootings, McGill argued that Wright had been pressured by detectives.
"History shows us that many times, people confess to crimes they did not commit," McGill told the jury.
Daniels' attorney, Stephen B. Gross, made a similar argument, telling the jury that there was no physical evidence showing Daniels was at the Piazza.
Gross argued that unlike Daniels' codefendants, there were no cellphone records linking him to Hook, the alleged mastermind.
And Gross said the one cooperating witness who testified that Daniels had been there "sat and lied to you. . . . They pulled [him] out of a sewer."
Contact staff writer Joseph A. Slobodzian at 215-854-2985, email@example.com,
or @joeslobo on Twitter.