After absorbing 38 days of testimony and arguments, jurors began deliberating this afternoon in the case against DeShawn Campbell for allegedly murdering a San Jose police officer. Judge Diane Northway gave jurors instructions on considering the case against the 29-year-old defendant and sent them off to deliberate shortly after 2 p.m., according to the district attorney’s office. Campbell is accused of killing rookie Officer Jeffrey Fontana Oct. 28, 2001. Campbell and his defense attorney have argued that his friend Rodney McNary shot Fontana, using a gun Campbell had with him for protection after a fight broke out at a party. The accused testified that he hid from authorities for days because he feared harm from police, or retaliation from McNary or his gang associates if he “snitched.” Prosecutor Lane Liroff told jurors there is no physical evidence to link McNary to the scene, and argued that Campbell hid out because he wasguilty, not afraid of retribution. The prosecution argued that Campbell saw Fontana approach his car, panicked and shot him to avoid being detained for the two active warrants out for his arrest at the time of Fontana’s death. If convicted, Campbell faces life in prison with no possibility of parole. In December Northway ruled that Campbell is mildly mentally retarded, meaning he is not eligible for the death penalty. The courtroom has been full of onlookers since the trial began Feb. 23.
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