FORT CARSON, Colo. (AP) - A Fort Carson soldier charged with murder in the slaying of his soldier-girlfriend on Valentine's Day 2013 did not intended to kill her and should not be found guilty of murder, his attorney told a military jury Wednesday.
Sgt. Montrell Lamar Anderson Mayo should be convicted of a lesser charge because he was in a "crazy state of madness" when he and Sgt. Kimberly Walker quarreled, military defense lawyer Capt. Michael Gold said.
Walker, 28, was found dead on a bed sprinkled with rose petals at a motel in Colorado Springs near Fort Carson. She had been beaten and asphyxiated, investigators said.
Prosecutors said Walker was trying to break up with Mayo, who was charged with premeditated murder and assault.
Both sides made closing arguments in Mayo's court-martial at Fort Carson on Wednesday. The jury of five Army officers began deliberating Wednesday.
Walker, of Cincinnati, was stationed at Fort Riley, Kansas. She was visiting Mayo, who was stationed at Fort Carson and is from Greenville, South Carolina.
The lead prosecutor, Capt. Amy Foley, argued Mayo should be convicted of premeditated murder, saying he hit Walker three times in the back of the head with a glass and then smothered her with a pillow when he realized she was still alive.
Gold acknowledged his client struck Walker but said he didn't mean to kill her. When she collapsed to the floor, Mayo thought she was dead and placed her on the bed amid the flower petals to make a kind of altar, the defense attorney said.
"He had just killed the woman he loved," Gold said.
The attorney said prosecutors did not prove Mayo tried to smother Walker and suggested the angle of her head had cut off her air supply as she lay unconscious.
Prosecutors dismissed Foley's account as unlikely.
Premeditated murder carries a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole. Sentences were not immediately available for the lesser crimes the jury could consider: unpremeditated murder, voluntary manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter.
Gold asked the jury to convict Mayo of one of the manslaughter counts.
Walker, a corporal at the time of her death, was given a posthumous promotion to sergeant.
Separately, Fort Carson officials postponed a hearing Wednesday to determine whether another soldier should be court-martialed in the shooting death of a 19-year-old comrade. The lead defense attorney said he had not had time to review all the evidence.
Spc. Jeffery T. Page, 23, of Perrysburg, Ohio, is charged with murder in the death of Spc. Adrian M. Perkins of Pine Valley, California, in May while both were deployed in Jordan.
The Army has not publicly discussed a motive or the circumstances surrounding the shooting.
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