ALFRED – The prosecution rested its case Wednesday in the murder trial of an Old Orchard Beach woman and her brother, and the judge told jurors that they should expect to begin deliberations today.

Darlene George and Jeffrey Williams are accused of murdering George’s husband, 44-year-old Winston George, on June 20, 2008. They also face conspiracy charges.

Justice G. Arthur Brennan said Wednesday in York County Superior Court that the lawyers will likely present closing arguments today, then he will give instructions to the jurors and turn the case over to them.

It remains to be seen whether Williams will take the stand in his own defense. That decision is expected to be made this morning. Darlene George has opted not to testify.

Prosecutors claim that George, along with her brother and her longtime lover, Rennie Cassimy, came up with a plan to murder Winston George and make it look like a home invasion by strangers.

Darlene George called 911 at 5:45 a.m. on June 20, 2008. In that call and in subsequent interviews with investigators, she said three men wearing latex gloves and nylon stockings over their heads ambushed her and her 13-year-old son in their home at 56 Smithwheel Road.

George said the men tied them up and then attacked her husband when he returned home from work after midnight.

Police found George’s body in the basement. He had been strangled with a rope and suffocated with a plastic bag. A rum bottle had been put in his mouth through a small hole in the plastic.

Cassimy has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder. He testified against Darlene George and Williams last week.

Lawyers for George and Williams have suggested that Cassimy crafted a story implicating their clients to secure a “sweetheart” plea deal from prosecutors with a recommended prison sentence of just eight years.

Armand Lucier, the Maine State Police detective who led the investigation, testified that there were 725 calls between the cell phones of Cassimy and Darlene George in May and June of 2008, and dozens more calls on George’s work phone at Seligman Datacorp in South Portland.

There were 10 phone calls between George and Cassimy on June 19, Lucier said, including two around the time video surveillance cameras showed Cassimy and Williams getting off a bus in Portland. The men were videotaped again the next morning as they boarded a bus headed for Boston.

Joel Vincent, the attorney who represents Williams, and Paul Aranson, who represents Darlene George, continued Wednesday to cast doubt on the testimony of Cassimy, the prosecution’s star witness.

Cassimy testified that he and Darlene George, along with George’s son, went to New York the week before the killing, and picked up Williams on Long Island. But Cassimy’s timeline for that trip was inconsistent with cell phone records that showed the locations of all three defendants, Vincent noted.

In his questioning of witnesses, Aranson challenged the state’s theory that Darlene George was motivated to kill her husband in part because she wanted sole control of the five properties they owned in Maine, New York, and Trinidad and Tobago, Winston George’s native country.

Aranson said the couple had no equity in the properties, so they would not produce a financial windfall for Darlene George in the event of her husband’s death.

 

Staff Writer Trevor Maxwell can be contacted at 791-6451 or at:

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