July 27, 2013

In testimony, Gwaro denies murder attempt

The Scarborough man takes the stand to say that he struck a woman but wasn't trying to kill her.

By Scott Dolan sdolan@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

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Assistant defense attorney Tina Nadeau looks on as Eric Gwaro, accused of beating a woman and causing her permanent brain damage, looks at his Bible on Friday, July 26, 2013. Friday was the last day of testimony and closing arguments in Gwaro's trial.

Gordon Chibroski / Staff Photographer

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Deputy District Attorney Megan Elam gives her closing arguments at the trial of Eric Gwaro on Friday, July 26, 2013. Gwaro is charged with bail violation, aggravated assault, elevated aggravated assault and attempted murder.

Gordon Chibroski / Staff Photographer

Additional Photos Below

Gwaro testified that he punched York twice and picked her up when she fell and struck her again when she told him she didn't have his money.

The only time Gwaro lost his composure during questioning by his attorney, Daniel Lilley, was in answering questions about his parents, wife and children. He wiped away tears as he mentioned his sons, ages 4 and 2.

Gwaro kept his composure while answering questions from the prosecutor, Deputy District Attorney Megan Elam, responding politely but at times seeming confused.

Other witnesses during the trial had described seeing the victim being punched and stomped, but Gwaro denied stomping or kicking York.

"That night, you walloped her a couple times?" Elam asked, making a punching gesture with her arm and putting her shoulder behind it for the jury to see.

"Yes, I did," Gwaro said.

Elam also asked Gwaro to identify himself in a video she played that was taken by surveillance cameras outside the Big Apple store that shows a man dragging a woman through the parking lot of the store.

"I was pulling her by the back of her shirt," Gwaro said. "I wanted my money back."

Elam, in her closing arguments, raised her knee, then brought down her foot hard against the floor, repeating the movement three more times as she stood in front of the jury, seated just feet away.

"I know that if I stomp on the head of someone lying on the pavement," Elam said, before punctuating her sentence with the four stomps, "I can kill them. That I know."

Lilley attacked the credibility of two eyewitnesses, Clifford Hethcoat and Megan Townsend, in his closing arguments. He said they have criminal records and were watching the attack from a fourth-floor apartment several hundred feet away in darkness at 3 a.m. when they claimed to be able to see someone stomping on another person.

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Additional Photos

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The prosecution in Eric Gwaro's attempted murder trial aired a video from a Big Apple store showing a man pulling a woman across the parking lot to behind the Cumberland Garage in Portland.

Gordon Chibroski / Staff Photographer


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