Both the Prosecution and the defense presented their closing arguments to jurors during Terrance Walker’s trial yesterday in the Supreme Court.
Mr. Walker is accused of causing the death of 19-year-old Jen-Naya Simmons through careless driving during the early hours of July 15, 2018, on North Shore Road.
Carrington Mahoney, for the Crown, reminded jurors that, once Juanae Burchall noticed Suzuki van 49359, which is in Mr. Walker’s name, in the westbound lane while riding on her bike, “ he” extinguished the van’s headlights.
According to Mr. Mahoney, the fact that the van’s headlights were turned off as soon as someone may have noticed its occupants is significant, because, in his opinion, it proves that whoever was driving the vehicle at the time of the fatal incident was trying to avoid getting caught. In his opinion, Mr. Walker did nothing in the situation but tried to cover it up.
Mr. Mahoney then directed jurors to what Mr. Walker said during his initial interview with police. When asked if he was driving the vehicle on July 14 and 15, 2018, Mr. Walker responded “ more than likely” and “ safe to say,” respectively.
Mr. Mahoney then urged jurors to keep in mind Ms. Simmons’ injury pattern after the incident, which in his and expert traffic collision investigator Glenn Luben’s opinions, were not typical of someone being thrown off of their bike, but more indicative of a person who was run over by another vehicle on the road.
Earlier in the trial, Mr. Luben said that Ms. Simmons did appear to fall off her bike, but another motorist’s actions caused her to fall off.
During his closing arguments, Mr. Walker’s lawyer Marc Daniels reminded the jury that it’s the Prosecution’s job to prove his client’s guilt, not the job of the defense to prove his innocence.
In his opinion, no evidence was presented throughout the trial that Mr. Walker was indeed behind the wheel when the incident occurred. If jurors are unsure of who was driving the vehicle, Mr. Daniels reminded them, then the jury exercise essentially stops.
He then told the jury that Ms. Simmons had alcohol in her system before the fatal incident occurred and was over the legal limit. Even her sister Jada Simmons-Trott, admitted during the trial that Ms. Simmons was intoxicated, but tried to downplay that fact. All collision experts who spoke throughout the trial say that Ms. Simmons lost control on her bike at some point.
Essentially, Mr. Daniels asked the jury to keep two questions in mind during their deliberations: are they sure that it was indeed Mr. Walker was behind the wheel of his van on July 15, 2018, and, judging by the CCTV footage available from the scene, was his manner of driving at all reckless or erratic?
Once those two questions have been answered, he concluded, does it really paint a picture of Mr. Walker’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt?
Puisne Judge Juan Wolffe will sum up the case this morning and then the jury will go out for deliberation.
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