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Closing Arguments In Van Dam Case

Lawyers for the man accused of killing 7-year-old Danielle van Dam said Monday they would not call a final witness, clearing the way for closing arguments in the case.

Defense attorney Steven Feldman had considered calling a forensic anthropologist as his final rebuttal witness in the trial of David Westerfield.

But Feldman, during a hearing to discuss jury instructions, informed the judge that he will rest his case when jurors return to court Tuesday. Closing arguments are expected to begin later in the day.

Westerfield is charged with kidnapping and killing Danielle, who lived two doors down from him in San Diego. The girl was last seen alive when her father put her to bed Feb. 1. Her nude body was found nearly a month later along a rural road east of the suburb of El Cajon.

The judge also reaffirmed his previous decision not to sequester the jury during deliberations, which are expected to begin later this week.

Feldman had sought to have the jurors stay in a hotel, with limited outside contact, because of the intense media coverage of the Van Dam abduction and murder and other kidnapping cases.

Westerfield, a 50-year-old engineer, is charged with kidnapping, murder and misdemeanor possession of child pornography.

Westerfield became a suspect early on in the investigation, in part because he took a trip into the desert the day after Danielle vanished and cleaned his motor home upon returning.

Subsequent investigation turned up a link between Westerfield and the van Dam family, as police took a close look at the so-called "swinging" lifestyle of the kidnapped girl's parents during the nearly one month between her abduction and the Feb. 27th discovery of her body.

At a pre-trial hearing, Brenda van Dam testified that she spent the Friday night before Danielle's disappearance at a bar with friends, where she had played pool, smoked marijuana, danced with other men and talked with Westerfield.

Brenda van Dam also said she had first learned Westerfield's name when she and Danielle went to his house to sell Girl Scout cookies two or three days before Danielle vanished.

"He asked why I did not introduce him to my friends," recalled Brenda van Dam, who says Westerfield told her "they looked like a lot of fun" and that she should tell her "friends I had a rich neighbor to introduce them to."

Police who later searched Westerfield's home have said that his computer had some 64,000 sexually provocative images of what appeared to be teenage girls.

Other forensic experts have said that they had found bloodstains matching Danielle's in Westerfield's motor home and on one of his jackets, and had found her fingerprints in his motor home.

If convicted, Westerfield could get the death penalty.

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