Jurors will renew their deliberations today to determine whether the slaying of paraplegic Steve Mikel was an act of self-defense or a calculated killing.
Three days of trial concluded mid-afternoon but a jury couldn’t decide after three hours whether Judy Washington was guilty of the charges on her indictment: felony and malice murder, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and during the commission of a crime.
The charges stem from July 31, when Washington and Mikel were socializing at the dead end of Ramsey Street, just outside Cherry Tree Crossing apartments. Witnesses said the two had a troubled history, including a fight the night before that ended with Mikel gripping Washington in a headlock and punching her.
Around 4 a.m. July 31, Washington, 52, drew a small revolver and pointed it Mikel because he wouldn’t put her purse down. She fired five shots, advancing toward Mikel, 45, with each one; four of them struck Mikel and killed him while he was in his wheelchair.
“The objective of this trial is to get to the truth and the truth is that the defendant maliciously killed Steve,” Assistant District Attorney Geoffrey Fogus said in closing arguments.
Washington’s attorney has said that Washington was in fear for her life and acted in self-defense.
That could be a sticking point for jurors, who sent a question to Superior Court Judge David Roper late in the afternoon asking for a definition of what justified taking a life.
Deliberations resume Thursday morning.