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Defense Rests In Porter Trial, Jury Excused For Weekend

BALTIMORE (WJZ)—A major development in the trial for an officer charged in the death of Freddie Gray. The defense rests its case after calling the mother of Officer William Porter to the stand.

The heart of this case has touched on a number of problems in the Baltimore City Police Department and in the end it will be up to jurors to decide who they find credible. Lawyers for both sides and the judge hashed out the final jury instructions on Friday.

WJZ Investigator Mike Hellgren has the latest.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys will have their final showdown during closing arguments next week as judgement day looms for Officer William Porter.

The officer's mother was the final witness in his defense, calling her son a peacemaker.

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"I think she was icing on the cake but I just don't see where the state has convinced anyone, that beyond reasonable doubt, that simply not belting him when it wasn't his responsibility, reflect a callous disregard for the life of Freddie Gray," said Warren Brown, lawyer, courtroom observer.

But the prosecution says Officer William Porter cared so little about Freddie Gray's life that he ignored Gray's pleas for help and left him to die inside a Baltimore Police transport van.

Prosecutors also say Porter ignored general orders mandating arrestees be secured with seat belts.

"The prosecution has presented evidence that went far beyond what the public expected and that's what makes their case very strong," said Doug Colbert, UMD law professor.

The defense brought in a final expert, Captain Justin Reynolds, who said Officer Porter went beyond what most officers would do and put the blame on wagon driver, Officer Caesar Goodson and Sgt. Alicia White, who were not acting when Porter told them Gray needed to go to the hospital.

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If convicted, Officer Porter faces more than 10 years behind bars.

The trial is set to continue on Monday at 9:00 a.m. There will be closing arguments, jury instructions, and then those jurors will start deliberating Officer Porter's fate.

City police officials tell WJZ leave has been canceled for officers on Monday and Tuesday ahead of the verdict.


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