Nine days, 34 witnesses and one motion for mistrial later, the Fred Mundt murder, rape and kidnapping trial in Noble County goes to the jury. Prosecutors and defense attorneys completed their closing arguments just before 11:00 Thursday morning. Now, it is up to 12 men and women to make a life or death decision. (Update: NO VERDICT HAD BEEN RETURNED AS OF LATE FRIDAY MORNING.)
After putting 32 witnesses on the stand, prosecutors told the jury that overwhelming DNA and physical evidence should condemn Fred Mundt for the murder of Brittany Hendrickson.
Defense lawyers hope after putting up just two witnesses, there is enough doubt to spare their client. Each side had an hour to present a closing argument Thursday morning, with the state allowing a 30-minute rebuttal.
Prosecutors explained in detail the evidence against Mundt, referring to one piece of D.N.A. putting the odds at one in 39 quadrillion that bodily fluids found on Brittany's clothes were that of someone other than Mundt.
Prosecutors went over the seven-year-old girl's injuries, said to be too severe to be explained in this space. Authorities have said Brittany was raped, beaten and left in a well.
In its closing argument, the defense stuck with its theory that Brittany's mother, Misty Hendrickson, or Fred Mundt's brother, Johnnie, could be responsible, and defense attorneys say police never tested other family members for DNA during the investigation.
Fred Mundt is accused of seven counts, including aggravated murder, rape and kidnapping, with a death penalty specification. Misty Hendrickson, Brittany's mother, was in the front row of the courtroom, as the closing arguments were presented. She looked emotionally distraught, at times resting her head on her mother's shoulders and clinging to other family members as she listened to the closing arguments.
At one point, the family began to sob as the state talked about finding justice for Brittany Hendrickson. When a verdict is returned, WTAP will pass it along as soon as it is reached, and post it on WTAP.com.