CAMBRIDGE, Ohio â One of two suspects, charged with fatally shooting two men in Cambridge last June, took the stand in his own defense on Friday morning.
Defense attorney Jack Blakeslee called his client, 32-year-old James L. Whatley Jr., as the lone witness for the defense in connection with the murders of Christopher Morrison and Justain Nelson. Whatley has been charged with aggravated murder, aggravated robbery, and burglary in connection with their deaths.
Whatley stunned those gathered in the Guernsey County Commons Pleas Court by placing himself at the scene of the double homicide on June 24, contradicting video-recorded statements placed before the jury on Thursday. Whatley indicated that he willingly played a part in several failed robbery attempts on Friday evening before assisting in the break-in at the Coventry Estates apartment early Sunday morning. But Whatley testified that, when one of his co-defendants began shooting, he fled the scene on foot.
In his cross-examination, Prosecutor Daniel G. Padden called into question why Whatley agreed to play any role in the robbery, especially when it became apparent that a violent outcome was likely.
Closing remarks were delivered on Friday afternoon. The jury has now received the case for deliberation.
AVC News will report the outcome from the scene when the jury reaches a verdict.