Updated at 7 p.m.

ALFRED — The jury will return Friday to resume deliberations in the murder trial of Jason Twardus at York County Superior Court.

Jurors deliberated for about four hours this afternoon without reaching a verdict.

The 12-member jury requested a read-back of multiple pieces of testimony from the trial. They also asked to watch a video surveillance tape of the defendant taken at an ATM machine on Aug. 8, 2007, the day his ex-fiancee Kelly Gorham was reported missing.

Jury begins deliberations in murder trial

ALFRED – The fate of Jason Twardus – and in some respects the future of two families split by a heinous crime – is now in the hands of 12 jurors.

Justice G. Arthur Brennan sent the jury to the deliberation room around 1 p.m. this afternoon.

Their job will be no small undertaking. The jury heard from more than 50 witnesses, including the defendant himself, over the course of the murder trial that began Sept. 13 at York County Superior Court.

It was a trial that featured wildly conflicting testimony, testy exchanges between lawyers and witnesses, and finger-pointing from the defense at one main alternate suspect and two possible accomplices.

Twardus, 29, of Rochester, N.H., is charged with killing his ex-fiancee, 30-year-old Kelly Gorham, at her apartment in Alfred on Aug. 8, 2007. Gorham was a nursing student known for her cheerful temperament and love of animals and of the outdoors. Investigators say Twardus strangled her and buried her body on a remote piece of land owned by his father in northern New Hampshire. Police found the body three weeks after Gorham went missing.

Defense lawyer Daniel Lilley claims investigators focused only on Twardus, ignoring the two people who had dinner and drinks with Gorham on the last night she was seen alive – her landlord John Durfee, and an employee of his who was romantically involved with Gorham, Calvin DeGreenia.

Deputy Attorney General William Stokes delivered a powerful closing argument that captivated the courtroom.

His central theme was that all the evidence pointed to one person, Twardus, and the defense’s alternate suspect theory was not only “preposterous,” but insulting to Gorham’s memory.

“You are being asked to believe,” Stokes said, that Durfee and DeGreenia “are the brilliant masterminds in the greatest frame-up in the history of mankind.”

“You met them all. Do you really believe they are masterminds, and John Durfee is the mastermind in chief? It is ridiculous,” he said.

Stokes reminded the jury that Lilley suggested Gorham traded sexual favors for a break on her rent from Durfee, although nothing seemed to back that claim up during the trial.

“Kelly Gorham’s name has been dragged through the mud here and she doesn’t deserve it,” yelled Stokes during his closing, as a crowd of about 100 people watched quietly from rows of benches.

Stokes said Twardus could not accept the fact that Gorham had broken off their engagement several months earlier, and that she was suddenly not returning his phone calls because she had a new boyfriend.

“This is a case, ladies and gentlemen, about obsession and jealousy, two of the most powerful motives for murder,” Stokes said.

“Who has the motive? Think about it. The jilted lover. It’s as old as time itself,” Stokes said, referring to Twardus. “He’s the only one that’s got the motive. He’s the only one who doesn’t have an alibi.”

In his closing argument, Lilley peppered the jury with the reasons they should find reasonable doubts in the state’s case. And he countered Stokes’ argument with some sharp one-liners.

“Mr. Stokes is a very talented lawyer, but he may be more talented at writing fiction,” Lilley said.

Lilley told the jury that the “biggest hole” in the state’s case was that prosecutors did not prove where Gorham was murdered. Under Maine law, a person can only be convicted of a crime in this state if the prosecution proves beyond a reasonable doubt that it was actually committed within the state’s borders. Lilley said the evidence should lead the jury to believe Gorham was alive when she left her apartment in Alfred, and was killed in New Hampshire, where she was buried.

“There is absolutely no evidence that this woman was killed in our state,” Lilley said.

He reminded the jurors that they agreed during jury selection that they would acquit Twardus – even if they believed he murdered Gorham – if they did not believe the state proved where the crime happened.

Lilley also focused on the testimony of a neighbor to Durfee, who said he heard what he thought was a party going on at the Durfee property on Aug. 8, 2007, around 4:30 a.m. The neighbor testified he heard at least one female voice and one male voice. Lilley said that does not match up with the state’s theory, because Twardus was at home with his father in Rochester, N.H., around 5:15 a.m.

“That’s a fact that in this particular case should cause you to have serious reasonable doubts,” Lilley said.

He said Durfee, an admitted PCP addict, was “evil personified,” noting that two women testified he sexually harassed them, and one said he threatened to take her into the woods, rape her and leave her for dead.

“Look real hard at the last people who saw somebody alive. There is no question in this case, the last people to see her alive were Calvin DeGreenia and John Durfee. Two criminals who met in prison.”

“Why are they looking at my client, and why are they letting these guys off the hook?”

It remains to be seen if the jury will return a verdict today, or if they will come back tomorrow to continue deliberations.