The fate of former DeKalb County sheriff’s deputy Derrick Yancey, charged with killing his wife Linda Yancey and day laborer Marcial Cax-Puluc, is now in the hands of the jury.
Friday’s session of Yancey’s trial in Superior Court began with a statement that he would not testify in his own defense and ended with the prosecution’s closing arguments that told a tale of household turmoil – one not reflecting on the outside the discord within.
“The way he kept his yard so immaculate is a reflection of how far he would go to get what he wanted – to keep up appearances,” chief assistant district attorney Don Geary said of Yancey.
“He wants to be seen as the hero. The one who shoots the home invader,” said Geary.
Before that, defense attorneys Letitia Delan and Ruth McMullin presented their closing arguments to the jury claiming no motive, no witnesses and no cover-up.
“This is a case of intersecting tragedies. The first was the attempted robbery by day laborer Marcial Cax-Puluc, and the second is the prosecution of Derrick Yancey,” Delan said to the jury.
“There are all kinds of reasonable doubts in this case. They [state prosecutors] have proven nothing. Theirs is a road map that leads you nowhere,” she added.
There were sticking points for both sides.
The state raised questions about Yancey’s statement that he was acting in self defense when he shot and killed Cax-Puluc and his demeanor during the 911 call - suggesting to jurors it was all a set up.
“Why was the gun placed in [Cax-Puluc’s] hand when there has been testimony that he’s right-handed? The blood on his hands is consistent with holding a wound,” Geary said. “What about the fact that there was no blood on the defendant’s face although the he claimed to have given CPR to his wife, whom had blood coming from her mouth?”
To that the defense pointed to state witnesses that testified to the contrary.
“One of the states own witnesses stated Mr. Yancey was so distraught officers had to carry him out of the basement,” defense co-counsel McMullin said.
She went on to address the motivation behind Yancey’s decision in August 2009 to cut his electronic monitoring device while on house arrest, and leave the country for Belize.
“The prosecution wants you to believe Derrick Yancey ran when his story unraveled. Really? All the witnesses we’ve seen have collaborated with his story,” Delan said, as she methodically took the jury through a line-by-line analysis of Yancey’s initial statement to police.
“There is no evidence that his story unraveled. His mother testified that he was depressed. He had no money, nor had he looked to go to a country that doesn’t extradite to the U.S.,” she added.
Prosecutors honed in on the fact that Yancey fled on a Saturday morning – when no one would be working he’d have the opportunity to get as far away a possible.
“That man did not intend to be found. He was avoiding justice,” said assistant district attorney Geary.
“He though he’d get away with it. But, if he’s man enough to kill a 20-year-old day laborer and his wife – to jam a 357 into her chest and blow her heart in half – he’s man enough to face you,” Geary said to the jurors.
The jury did not reach a verdict after deliberating a short time Friday and will return on Monday at 10 a.m. in Judge Linda Hunter’s courtroom to continue deliberating.