Roberson jury begins deliberations
Following nearly two months of testimony, a jury of eight women and four men began deliberating in the Ulysses Roberson murder trial Tuesday morning.
The El Dorado County District Attorney’s Office has charged Roberson with first degree murder in the disappearance of his four year old son – Alexander Olive – from a Tahoe Keys home in late 1985 or late 1986.
Prosecutors also charged Roberson with two special circumstances in the alleged murder of Olive: racial bias and torture.
Prosecutors contend Roberson killed Olive because he did not like that Olive’s mother was white and tortured the boy by forcing Olive to stand naked in the garage of a Monterey Drive home in the middle of winter while beating him with a piece of firewood.
Roberson faces life in prison without parole if convicted of first degree murder and either one of the special circumstances.
If the jury finds Roberson did not exhibit the premeditation required for a first degree murder conviction, jurors must then decide whether Roberson is guilty of second degree murder or involuntary manslaughter, El Dorado County Superior Court Judge Suzanne Kingsbury explained to the jury on Tuesday. The special circumstances would not apply to a conviction of second degree murder or involuntary manslaughter.
Closing arguments by prosecutor Patricia Kelliher and defense attorney Monica Lynch lasted all day Monday and part of Tuesday morning.
Following the arguments, Kingsbury dismissed a female juror for undisclosed reasons. The dismissed juror was replaced by a male alternate juror who was randomly chosen from the pool of six alternate jurors who have been at the trial from the beginning.
During her closing statement, defense attorney Monica Lynch continued a a strategy she has used throughout trial and focused on discrediting Raj Roberson, Ulysses Roberson’s first wife. Raj Roberson is the only person to testify she saw Olive dead in an upstairs bathroom at the Tahoe Keys home. Ulysses Roberson allegedly disposed of the body during a van trip shortly after the alleged murder. No body has ever been found.
Lynch also contended it is reasonable to believe that at least one of the eight witnesses called in the case who said they believed they saw Olive alive following his alleged murder actually did. Most of the sightings were based on an age progressed portrait of Olive shown on a segment of the televisions show “Unsolved Mysteries.”
Under the law, if there is more there is a reasonable interpretation of the evidence in a trial that points to innocence, the jury is obligated to uphold that interpretation, Lynch said.
“There is no proof beyond a reasonable doubt that (Olive) is dead,” Lynch said.
Kelliher focused much of their closing statements on highlighting witness testimony showing Roberson’s ability to control people and his alleged propensity for violence towards woman he was involved with and his own children.
She also explained the differences between first degree murder second degree murder and involuntary manslaughter at length and dismissed the defense contention that it there are multiple reasonable explanations for the evidence presented over the past two months.
Roberson deserves a first degree murder conviction, Kelliher told the jury.
“There is no other reasonable interpretation of the evidence ladies and gentlemen,” Kelliher said
In a dramatic close to her closing argument on Monday afternoon, Kelliher urged the jury to stand up to “Ulysses Roberson the child killer,” stand up for the truth and do what no one in Olive’s live was able to do, stand up for him.
“It’s time,” Kelliher concluded.
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