The third week and the eighth day of testimony ended Thursday afternoon with the jury still hearing evidence in the mitigation stage of the Nathan LeForce murder trial. The case took yesterday off so Judge Phillip Corley could deal with a docket in Payne County. The trial will resume on Monday with more defense witnesses. Earlier in the week Judge Corley told the jury it would be at least Tuesday before the mitigation phase of the trial was completed.
Earlier in the week the jury of seven men and five women deliberated for a little over two hours before advising the court of guilty verdicts on all three charges: Murder in the First Degree-Malice Aforethought, Larceny of Motor Vehicle, AFCF (After Former Conviction of a Felony) and Armed Robbery in the First Degree, AFCF.
The prosecution rested their mitigation presentation on Thursday morning after entering the second video of the David Wade shooting from the time he was shot until the paramedics arrived and took the body camera off Wade. In the second video jurors saw and heard Wade in the minutes after the shooting communicating over his radio and to people at the scene up until help arrived.
The court session started Friday with the jury not present, the issue of records from DHS were again addressed after Thursday’s issues came to light. DHS was in court with all the records and their legal counsel at 9 a.m. as he had asked. After a brief discussion the records were turned over to Judge Corley. The judge also asked DHS why the records were not produced on the subpoena request and the DHS representative said she did not know why. Corley then gave the defense the option to continue their cross examination of the former DHS employee or wait until Monday after they had reviewed all the records. The defense decided they wanted to look at the records first. After all of the issues were settled Judge Corley again denied the mistrial request saying with the records now present and after they reviewed them, they would be able to continue.
The defense started their mitigation Thursday morning with Flora LeForce, the defendant’s mother. The defense started the questioning at 10:50 a.m. and Flora LeForce was excused at 3:23 p.m. by the prosecution. Besides the lunch break, the court also had to excuse the jury as the defense wanted to enter a series of letters Nathan LeForce had written to his mother. After a meeting in chambers and court back in session, the letters were admitted, and certain highlighted parts of the letters were read to the jury by defense attorney Gretchen Mosley. As the questioning by Moseley was wrapping up and Judge Corley was trying to keep Flora LeForce on point, she asked the judge,” Do you have something against God?” The judge was not happy and told Flora LeForce that. The prosecution made quick work of their cross examination asking how often had Nathan written letters to her prior to the shooting and did she have any role in the shooting? Flora LeForce was excused and exited the courtroom crying pleading with the jury not to execute her son.
The defense finished out the afternoon with two more witnesses before court was dismissed for the weekend. LeForce was sentenced earlier in the week to 30-years in prison on the Larceny of a Motor Vehicle after two former felony convictions. On the charge of Armed Robbery in the First Degree after previous conviction, the jury recommended 37-years in prison.